Membership Monday - Meet Emma Inman, APR

    Director, Public Affairs for Cox Communications Virginia, Emma Inman has worked in public relations for 27 years. A longtime member of PRSA Hampton Roads, Emma is the chapter’s ethics officer, one of many roles in which she has served. She was president in 2008 and has also taken turns as treasurer, president-elect and immediate past-president during her 20-year tenure in the chapter. “You know this is true, because only the old guys are asked to serve as ethics officer!” she quipped.

    Joking aside, Emma is serious about ethics in public relations and her role as ethics officer for PRSA Hampton Roads. “The only real currency we have as PR professionals is trust, and the only real way to ensure that we are trusted is to be truthful and transparent. That’s why our Code of Ethics is so vital to the profession,” she said. Emma has been helping plan a chapter program on the topic for this fall. “Stay tuned…our November meeting is going to explore fake news, alternative facts and ethics. We’re having a panel that you will not want to miss!”  

    As for how she got her start in public relations, Emma attributes it to…procrastination. “I had an internship requirement for graduation at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown where I was studying journalism. I procrastinated, nearly jeopardizing graduation, and of course all of the good newspaper internships were long gone,” she said. “My advisor told me to look for corporate PR internships. I don’t think I had ever heard of PR and had not taken any PR classes. I landed an internship at Penn State’s College of Medicine at The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center that changed my life. My boss, Deborah Saline, APR, Fellow PRSA, turned me on to PR and has been my friend and mentor ever since. I always tell her she scared me to death in my interview and I was tempted to tell her, ‘forget it, I can’t do this job,’ but am so glad that I didn’t.” 

    She joined PRSA to “be a part of the pre-eminent society for PR professionals, networking with the best, learning from the best, and taking advantage of everything the Society had to offer as I was growing my career,” Emma said. “I was also interested in obtaining my APR and being able to wear that mark of distinction.” 

    Her advice for those who are new to PRSA is sound: “Network and get involved! Get involved with the chapter, a section, your district, and connect with professionals whose tenure in the field may be deeper than yours,” she said. “PRSA is full of talented folks who are willing to share their knowledge. You can also give back by sharing your expertise with others, and everyone wins.” 

    Clearly, PRSA Hampton Roads is fortunate to count Emma among its members. Continuing her commitment to PRSA, Emma is running for an At-Large Director seat on the National 2018 Board of Directors. You can learn more about her career and candidacy here, and submit comments on her behalf here by June 30. (You must sign into PRSA National to participate). 

    Now, let’s really get to know Emma: 

    1. If you weren’t working in public relations, what would you be doing instead?
      Anyone who knows me knows about my love of art. When I’m not working, you can find me in my studio making sculpture and pottery. Unfortunately, in my case, love does not equal talent. If it did, that’s what I’d be doing.
    2. What’s your favorite book, movie or song of all time?
      Book: When I was a child, I read the “Wizard of Oz” over and over. The movie and those flying monkeys scared the heck out of me, but I loved the book. Wow, the magic on that yellow brick road! Movie: “The Abyss” (yes, it’s sappy, don’t judge me; who wouldn’t want to discover a “non-terrestrial intelligence” under the sea that has amazing powers that can literally save humankind. Plus, I love Ed Harris.) Song: Stevie Ray Vaughan, “The Sky is Crying.”
    3. What’s one thing about you that others are surprised to discover?
      I have two tattoos. While I’m generally very conservative, both tattoos are in memory of my son, George. He knows what they mean and why I got them.
    4. What's the last picture you took with your phone?
      A panoramic view of Florence, Italy, taken from Piazzale Michelangelo, where you can see the entire city. Florence is one of the most spectacular places on the earth!
    1. Name 5 people you'd invite to your dream dinner party.
      Michelangelo, Andy Warhol, Pope John Paul II, Eric Clapton and Dr. Cornel West

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