Chapter Chat: Lauren Powers

Time is one of the most precious gifts we can give, and Lauren Powers so graciously offers hers in support of PRSA Georgia and other causes.

A Chapter member since 2011 and a member of the inaugural Forty Under 40 class, she’s leading not just one, but two of the organization’s dynamic committees –serving as co-chair for the high-profile Phoenix Awards and the Annual Conference.

Her professional career is tied to organizations devoted to improving the public’s quality of life with her resume including marketing and communications roles for Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta Affiliate, Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and currently the Emory University Department of Medicine. And as a certified personal trainer and dance fitness instructor, she even finds time to help people get in shape and improve their lives when she’s not at her day job or “PRSA jobs.”

As involved in various pursuits as she is, Powers found time to also participate in this latest installment of Chapter Chat, a member-focused profile series offering industry insights intertwined with candid commentary.

Let’s get to know Lauren Powers in her own words.

Question: Why did you choose public relations as your profession?
Answer: I chose public relations because I am terrible at accounting or finance, and I love to write. True story. I really had no idea exactly what public relations was when I chose my major, but anything that allowed me to write and not take the traditional business classes required with a marketing major was a win in my book. I’d like to think it worked out well!

Q: When and why did you join PRSA Georgia?
A: I joined PRSA Georgia in the summer of 2011 right after I graduated from college at Louisiana State University and moved back home to Atlanta. I joined because I hoped it would be a great resource to help me find a job or internship. Little did I know how big of a role it would come to play in my life.

Q: What do you do at your day job?
A: I am the Senior Marketing Manager for the Emory University Department of Medicine, a department within the School of Medicine. We have more than 700 faculty members who are renowned leaders in research, education and patient care. I manage all internal and external communications and marketing efforts on behalf of our faculty, staff, residents and fellows.

Q: What is one way that you have applied your involvement with PRSA Georgia to your professional role?
A: Co-chairing the Phoenix Awards Committee for the past couple of years has been a huge asset to my professional role. Being able to judge some of the best industry work in the Southeast has pushed me to take my own work to the next level. This has given me inspiration and has challenged me to think more strategically. One of my favorite things to ask both myself and my team is, “Now what else?” I’m a full believer that there’s always the extra creative step you can take to propel your work from good to great.

Q: What is the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned by participating in PRSA Georgia?
A: We may all come from different industries and backgrounds, and we may all be at different stages in our careers, but at the core we are all the same. We’re all trying to reach the same goal – to produce great work. There’s strength in numbers with PRSA Georgia. I find comfort in knowing that we’ve all asked the same questions, we’ve all felt unsure and like we didn’t know what we were doing and we’ve all likely failed. However, knowing that I have a group of like-minded people at the ready to consult when things aren’t working out and to celebrate with when they do is incredibly valuable. Also, I’ve learned to give back more – even when it is a challenge and even when I didn’t think that I could. This year I am co-chairing two committees (Phoenix Awards and Annual Conference) and it has been a great decision. I met so many more Chapter members and professionals by taking on Annual Conference in addition to Phoenix Awards. I now have a deeper understanding of the amount of work my fellow volunteers do to keep this Chapter running successfully, and this has been so inspiring to me. Time is one of the most valuable things we can give, and I’m happy to give mine to an organization that has helped me so much already in my career.

Q: You live in Atlanta where everyone seems to have a “side hustle.” Tell us about yours.
A: I am a certified personal trainer and dance fitness instructor. I stumbled into an adult dance studio called Dance 101 a few years ago. I had zero dance experience and was absolutely terrible, but I loved it, so I stuck with it. Fast forward and now I’ve been teaching there for a couple of years. I teach two formats – REB3L Groove (dance fitness) and REB3L Strength (body sculpt). It’s something I never in a million years thought I would do, but I love it and I’ve met so many amazing people along the way.

Q: And what about downtime – how do you relax?
A: When I’m not at work, you’ll rarely find me at my house in Grant Park. I’m either at the dance studio, exploring the neighborhood with my husband Matt and our dog Todd, running around town with our group of friends, or hanging out with our families (all pre-COVID, of course). I’m very go go, go. When I do slow down and hang out at home, you’ll find me on the couch or on the porch with my nose in a book and a glass of wine in hand.

Q: What is one professional goal, resolution or intention that you’re sticking to this year?
A: To be quite honest, all of those went out of the window with COVID-19. My new goal for this year is to just do what I can and to challenge my team to work creatively (and cheaply) in the face of a lot of adversity.

Q: On that note, how do you see the COVID-19 pandemic affecting PRSA Georgia Chapter the rest of this year and beyond?
A: Over the past few months, our lives have completely changed. Everything is different both personally and professionally. All of our Chapter activities will likely look different this year. My hope (and I have no doubt this will happen) is that we all come together as a Chapter to face this new uncertain future. I’d love to see creativity, resource sharing and a lot of involvement among our members. We need this now more than ever to shape the new future of PRSA Georgia.