The Charles Communication Group is a public relations agency that spreads their clients message locally and nationally.
By Blake Carter
Many businesses, organizations, and politicians need to get their messages out to the masses, and that’s where Shawna Charles comes in. As the founder and CEO of Charles Communication Group, Charles’ agency utilizes an integrated marketing approach and partners with individuals to promote and evolve their brands by crafting winning media strategies.
“We do business type of PR (public relations), so I’ve worked with law firms, nonprofits, business owners, CEOs of companies,” Charles said. “We do more business, entrepreneurial type of thing (opposed to celebrity and entertainment PR). I’ve worked for a law firm where I did all of their press conferences from end to end. I’ve helped them take their stories national. I help them identify their best cases to see if we do stuff locally or nationally.”
Charles is from the Bronx, New York, and she majored in communication at Howard University. She received an MBA in international business administration from Nova Southeastern University and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Walden University. When she moved to Los Angeles she worked for DirecTV for 12 years, but she felt that she wanted more out of her career, so she decided to branch out on her own.
“I decided that I wanted to do PR,” she said. “I felt that it brought everything; my relationship base, my communications, I felt like it brought all the stuff that I had together. With my relationship skills, I’m a true extrovert.”
Charles utilized her networking skills to launch her company and obtain clients. She manages her client’s internal and external relationships, and she handles media relations.
While Charles’ outgoing personality tremendously helps her in this field, she says that people who are more introverted can still work in this field.
“If you want to just write and build strategy, you don’t have to be an extrovert because those are really behind the scenes things,” she said. “For me with PR, I like to be out there. I like to socialize. And I also like the power to influence. I like to move people. I’m like a salesperson. There is an element of sales through your story telling. I’m a big picture person. I’m a strategy person.”
Charles advises people who want to get into PR to join local communication organizations, such as the Black Public Relations Society Los Angeles, and the Public Relations Society of America, Los Angeles Chapter.
“You build a network of people there,” she said. “If you’re not the type to go out there and enjoy networking, those groups give you things to do to help support you and the things that you’re not strong in. With the things that you’re not strong in, surround yourself with people who are.”
As an entrepreneur, Charles had to learn the skillset of being a business owner opposed to just being an employee.
“You have to be patient with yourself,” she said. “You have to be ready to pivot. You have to be okay with taking on collaborators, partners, or delegating or outsourcing work, if you can financially afford that. When I first started I couldn’t afford that, so I had to do everything. I had to learn stuff that I didn’t know. I had to figure it out. I had to ask people.”
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