Meet Dan Shuman

    Dan Shuman has worked in public relations for 10 years and is senior manager, marketing communications for LifeNet Health. He’s been part of PRSA Hampton Roads for more than two years and serves on the board as a director and liaison to the social media committee. 

    Dan spent a few years working in newspapers. “With the news industry looking anything but stable around 2007,” he said, he “made the leap to the other side” with an opportunity to try his hand at PR at Eastern Virginia Medical School. “To this day, I miss the thrill of the chase from my reporting days. But local government meetings that stretched past 11 p.m. or filing a feature story the morning of my wedding? I don’t miss those so much.” 

    If he didn’t work in public relations, Dan said he’d either still be in newspapers or coaching swimming. “I started my undergraduate education intending to major in exercise physiology,” he said. “I chose to focus on journalism upon discovering that chemistry and I are frenemies.” 

    Dan joined PRSA in order to get beyond his desk and engage in the public relations world in a meaningful way. “Our industry is changing so rapidly and in so many ways,” he said. “It’s important to have a filtering mechanism for the stream of information and to dive beyond the buzzwords to understand how evolutions in the communication landscape should inform my strategy. PRSA helps fills those needs.” 

    If you’re new to public relations or to PRSA, Dan has some sage advice. “Build a habit of taking time every week to step away from the work at hand and take advantage of the myriad opportunities to learn something new about communication or to simply think about the big picture ramifications of where you’re spending your time,” he said. “Reflection is an important step toward keeping your work grounded in strategy.” 

    Now for the important questions:  

    1. What’s your favorite book, movie or song of all time? Why? Book: While it’s a short story rather than a book, “A Small, Good Thing” by Raymond Carver is a sublime slice of humanity that I keep coming back to since I first read it 15 years ago. Movie: “The Shawshank Redemption.” Even without the extraordinary acting, the script is beautifully composed. Song: This varies wildly depending on what mood I’m in, but Rachmaninov’s “Prelude in C sharp minor, op. 3/2” is one I never skip. Likewise for “Winter” from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” They’re both so intense that you can help but get drawn in. … That is, unless I’m getting ready for a race of some kind, in which case my go-to since age 14 has been “The Distance” by Cake.
    2. What’s one thing about you that others are surprised to discover? I danced in a clogging group as a child, including performing on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. I lament that, to date, I have been unable to find and destroy all photographic evidence of this era of my life.
    3. What's the last picture you took with your phone? My son and a friend’s two kids in an oversized Adirondack chair on the boardwalk in Duck, NC.
    4. Name five people you'd invite to your dream dinner party. David McCullough, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ayrton Senna (race car driver), Chuck Palahniuk and my wife.

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