NAPRCA’s November Member Spotlight features Amanda Jarrett. Amanda is the Communications and Marketing Director for the National Children’s Advocacy Center (NCAC). She studied marketing during her undergraduate years at the University of North Alabama, and will soon obtain her MBA with a concentration in marketing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
While Amanda is a pro in marketing now, she was not always sure it was the career path for her. When she arrived at UNA, Amanda’s major was elementary education. She did not change her route to pursue marketing until after helping a friend study for a marketing exam. This allowed Amanda to discover her passion for the field.
In one word, Amanda explained the reason she has remained in the field – Storytelling.
“I love great storytelling!” Amanda said. “Every agency or organization has a unique story and finding a creative way to tell it is so much fun. I especially enjoy the challenge of telling the NCAC’s story. For privacy reasons, we cannot talk about our greatest successes, so we have to find another way to let our community know about the work happening on our campus.”
Beyond her experience at the NCAC, Amanda has also gained experience in other areas of the communications field. Amanda spent more than 17 years working in television news, but now she enjoys working on the other end of things.
“I love working with the media,” Amanda said. “Helping a reporter find a meaningful story that also spotlights the work of my coworkers is so rewarding!”
Through her experience in the media, she has learned several valuable lessons. One of the key lessons is the importance of knowing the news style in your market. Another key lesson is the value of networking and sharing ideas with your peers in the PR and marketing community.
“This will help you understand what media outlets are looking for and what events you may be competing with when you have a story to pitch or a news conference,” Amanda said. “Bottom line, do your best not to put a media outlet in a position to choose between you and another organization.”
Another valuable career lesson Amanda keeps in mind is to never respond to a question by saying “no comment”. Instead, she advises to explain the reason why it is not possible to give a comment in order to show your transparency.
Of all the lessons Amanda has learned and goals she has accomplished, the one she remains most proud of is her work on creating a guide to help educators recognize signs of abuse in their children, even in a remote learning environment.
“Right after children were sent home from school at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, child abuse reports decreased by 50% from the year before,” Amanda explained. “This did not mean the abuse wasn’t happening, it meant children were home with their abusers and did not have access to anyone who would recognize the signs and know how to respond.”
Because of this, Amanda and a team of her coworkers collaborated to create a handbook so educators will know what visible signs and behaviors to be aware of.
“It felt so good to be able to do something to help,” she shared. “We’ve since shared it with partner organizations across the U.S. and multiple local and national media outlets.”
Amanda’s love for the NCAC and their mission has helped shape her career goals for the near future. Within the next three to five years, Amanda hopes to position the experts at the NCAC as the nation’s experts on child abuse response. She also hopes to expand the center’s Communications and Marketing Department so they can continue to produce content that will help inform the adults and children in their community.
Amanda became a member of NAPRCA after several of her friends spoke highly of the organization and referred her to join. Some of her favorite benefits of her membership have been the professional and personal support she has received and having a group of like-minded communicators she can reach out to for advice.
She left us with an inspiring quote that may seem simple to some but has had a significant impact on her life:
“My former supervisor and mentor at WAFF, Stephen Gallien, started every morning meeting by saying ‘It’s gonna be a great day,’ ” Amanda recalled. “He said and believed it no matter what was happening around us. I read those words every morning because I believe we can shape the outcome of a situation with our outlook and attitude. It doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen, but our ability to see the good in things can make a bad situation much easier to handle.”
If you know someone you’d like to nominate to be featured in our Member Spotlight series, click here to make your nominations!