Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) named three young communications professionals as their 2015 Emerging Leaders Awards honorees: Sarah Coppersmith, Emily Rasowsky and Shannon Toher. The Emerging Leaders Awards, held June 16, is an annual awards and cocktail reception that recognizes leaders in public relations and communications, among young women (aged 23-30) who have significantly impacted the communications field and the D.C. community. After the awards, we asked the honorees to provide us a bit of background about themselves. Below is our interview with Emily Rasowsky.
Emily, why did you go into PR/communications?
I started working in the PR/communications space while at GW. I started an organization there to help raise awareness around the issues of sexual violence on campus. As part of this work, I focused a great deal of time trying to educate the student community, spreading accurate information around sexual violence and how to combat the issue systematically, and also driving action around how we can put this education into practice. I noticed that through digital communications I could have a wider reach and more impact that I could in almost any other means of outreach. I knew it was something I wanted to continue to do for more groups and issues.
What lessons have you learned that you want to share with others?
If I could boil it down to two things, it would be: First, dream big; and, second, follow through.
A lot of times, when you are first starting out in almost any position or industry, it’s easy to put limits on what you think you can do. There is uncertainty or fear that you don’t have the right skills or enough experience. I’ve found that if you put your mind to something and make a case for what you believe in and why it’s important, then there is no reason you can’t think big. There is nothing holding you back from achieving what you want except the doubt you have in yourself.
The other key thing I’ve learned is the importance of strong follow through. It’s not just about thinking big, it’s about acting on your ideas. Showing up, doing your best and staying as present as you can throughout the process is what turns ideas into realities.
Who are your role models?
My first internship boss, Natalie Cofield, is and always has been a role model for me. She taught me the importance of “the hustle”. She never stopped hustling to get to where she wants to be and I have seen how her hard work has paid off.
The leadership team at Social Driver: Melissa Springer, Anthony Shop and Thomas Sanchez. They have helped me grow exponentially since arriving and Social Driver and have pushed me to go beyond what I think possible – in the best possible way! They also show tremendous leadership, in their unique ways, every single day.
How do you think you can make a difference in the coming years?
I hope to keep building on the impact I’ve made at Social Driver. We get to work on amazing projects in healthcare, education, policy, and more every single day. Knowing you are helping solve problems and support great organizations in the process is always an awesome feeling.
I also hope to continue to grow my work with the Women in Tech Campaign. There are so many amazing women in the tech industry that don’t fit the ‘coder’ or ‘geeky’ role who don’t have a platform to share their stories and the difference they’ve made in the tech space. No matter what their role – HR, finance, strategy, communications, design, development, cinematography – I want to create a community where everyone who contributes to the digital industry has a place. This validation is what I believe empowers people to achieve more, do more and make our world a better place. You have to know you can do it and you have a community supporting you, that’s what this campaign works to provide.
If you didn’t go into communications, what field would you have gone into?
I try my hardest not to think about the ‘what ifs’ in life BUT if I had to choose it would probably be something in international development or international economics, since that’s what my actual undergrad degree is in.
What are the things you like to do when not at work?
I am a 500-hour certified yoga instructor and also practice yoga just about every day I can. Aside from that, you can find me baking and/or cooking with my boyfriend and spending time with my family and friends.
(Photo by Ruby Ella Photography)