Chapter Chat: Jasmine Gurley

Jasmine Gurley has been a doer since she was a five-year-old living outside of Washington D.C. helping her mom with DIY projects around the house and imagining herself working at the local lumberyard.

So it’s only fitting that she’s currently employed by the Atlanta-based home improvement retail giant whose tagline is: “How doers get more done.” As Sr. Specialist, Product Innovations PR for The Home Depot, Jasmine drives earned media strategies that ultimately empower customers to be motivated doers.

Her PR career is a story of alchemy. Jasmine picked public relations as her college major when she was still a junior in high school. She attended North Carolina A&T State University on a dual athletic and academic scholarship, starring on the swim team and earning a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication.

After instructing algebra with Teach for America in New Orleans, she moved to Atlanta to launch her PR career, landing a job with a PR agency in the interior design, decor, architecture and home building products space – a precursor to her current position.

For Jasmine, working for The Home Depot has been a dream come true. And as an active member of PRSA Georgia, she lends her can-do attitude to the Chapter by serving on the College Relations and Membership Committees.

This installment of Chapter Chat, a member-focused profile series offering industry insights intertwined with candid commentary, shines a light on the ultimate doer within PRSA Georgia’s ranks.

Let’s learn more about Jasmine Gurley in her own words.

Question: Since you work for The Home Depot, we have to know: what home improvement project are you most proud of?
Answer: This past February, my mother visited Atlanta and we created a very large piece of artwork that would have been more than $600 if we bought it, but cost me $50 and some bonding time together to make. Totally worth it.

Q: You’re a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) alum. How has that college experience informed your PR career in corporate America?
A: Attending an HBCU was one of the best decisions of my life. It felt like home from the moment I visited the campus. A&T taught me how to think, not what to think. It armored me with history, context, knowledge and experience, so that I knew how to thrive in any room I entered or circumstance that came my way. I am forever grateful to A&T and will forever advocate for the importance of HBCUs.

Q: What advice do you have for recent graduates entering the workforce during a pandemic?
A: The career search process is more than just shooting off applications and resumes. This is the opportune time for digital networking. I like to encourage students to think of what they want to be doing in the next 5 to 10 years and then research the journeys of people who are currently living a similar life. For the most intriguing individuals, I tell students to contact the person using the 3 C’s: Be compassionate, concise and consistent. The consistency piece is crucial. It’s all about staying close until a conversation can spark a new relationship, or what I call “the art of the follow-up.”

Q: Where do you find creativity and inspiration?
A: Human experiences are inherently inspirational to me, so I pay attention to different cultures and love storytelling in all forms – books, blogs/vlogs, movies, podcasts, documentaries, etc. Additionally, daily prayer and meditation keep my mind open to opportunity in life and work.

Q: What is one “unofficial” skill or experience that you’ve put to use at work?
A: Advocating for myself or my ideas was a struggle for me. At the beginning of my career, I listened a lot, which was absolutely necessary. However, there were times when I had alternative thoughts about something and did not say anything due to the fear of being perceived as “young and entitled” or “the combative black woman.” Thankfully, the team I’m on now fully supports and even proactively uplifts my voice. I’ve developed this skill over time, and I implore others to find, hone and utilize their voice as soon as possible.

Q: Among your contributions to PRSA Georgia, you have served as a conference panelist. Why is that important to you?
A: My father taught me to “add value and deliver excellence.” He also told me, “You are 100 percent responsible for your audience understanding your message.” As previously shared, I’ve made a concerted effort to learn how to advocate for myself and my perspectives. I know I speak from a space of love, growth and intention, which is needed in this world. If I am given the platform, I will use it to “add value and deliver excellence” in a way that is understandable and actionable to the audience. That is where true impact lies.

Q: How has COVID-19 tested your crisis communications acumen?
A: It’s been all-hands-on-deck at The Home Depot. As an essential retailer, I’ve been impressed with how swiftly we jumped into action to support communications for our associates, customers and the community at large. Our corporate communications and external affairs department is a force and I am proud to be a part of that team.

Q: What are your hopes for PRSA Georgia and where do you see the organization heading?
A: I’d like to see more frequent and deliberate diversity initiatives as well as collaboration with other PR and communications-related organizations. The PRSA Foundation is steadily spearheading this, but if there were any moment in time where the PR industry, including PRSA Georgia, needs to be speaking out and driving thoughtful conversation and communications, this is the time.