Brunner’s own Vicie Simpson is the 2023 recipient of the Black Excellence Award, given by the Public Relations Society of America’s Pittsburgh chapter. PRSA Pittsburgh established the award in 2020 to recognize and encourage young, talented Black men and women who are building careers in communications, public relations, and marketing.
We had the chance to catch up with Vicie and hear what the Black Excellence Award means to her.
Name: Vicie Simpson
Role at Brunner: Social Media Community Management Specialist
Education: Point Park University, 2021
What does a typical day at Brunner look like for you?
The fun thing about working at a marketing agency is that each day looks a bit different. As a social media community management specialist, I work closely with my clients on scheduling social media content. Mostly I am attending to their audience and searching for engagement opportunities on all of their social media platforms.
The PRSA Black Excellence Award recognizes young Black professionals working in public relations, marketing, or communications. What does winning this year’s award mean to you?
Receiving this year’s award means a lot to me. I’m extremely grateful to have received an award that honors both the value of my work ethic and the social inclusion that being a Black woman represents. I want to emphasize that Black people have fantastic and successful news to share. Nothing the world attempts to say or show about us can define who we are because we are a product of excellence.
What advice can you offer Black students or young professionals who are just starting their careers in these fields?
I would advise them to leave their shadows and comfort zones behind! By demonstrating your abilities, you will discover your true passion and realize just how valuable you are to this world. You never know what steppingstone you are providing for the next young Black girl or boy.
What can people already in PR, marketing, or communications roles do to encourage more Black students and young professionals to enter the industry and to support their success?
People in public relations are already there to ‘influence’ or ‘drive’ an audience to that company or group. But enforcing the notion of representation is not the only essential aspect we need to see from our colleagues and professional contacts, as well as businesses. Individuals in public relations who sincerely want to see more Black people share their success stories should encourage the authentic value we bring to these professions. Allow more space for Black individuals to feel the same as everyone else. We understand that we will always be a part of a movement, but all we want is the same genuine support that everyone else receives. Continue to assist Black businesses and employees and share resources that can help them, just as you would for anyone else.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
What I enjoy most about my job is that my work environment encourages personal development. Within my first year, I have already seen personal and professional improvement. Personally, I’ve developed more self-assurance in my ability to communicate and I am establishing just who I am in the work field. Professionally, the quick speed of social media has helped me to learn and apply new skills much faster, like mastering a new marketing tool. These newfound skills allow both me and my clients to flourish.
Where would you like to see yourself in the future?
I’d like to see myself become more defined in the marketing industry and support people in need. I may be an entrepreneur of some sort, using my own methods to help someone’s business succeed. I’d like to be able to assist people in need by providing them with ideas or other services. I want to learn more about marketing and its tools so that I can be a well-rounded marketing resource, and maybe even have my own firm. I definitely want to help others – whether that’s with employment, housing, or other causes. Supporting the success of others is a major goal of mine. I want to be able to share the fantastic experiences I have had in discovering the actual meaning of ‘support,’ because so many different people in different parts of my life have been so supportive of me.