PR Professional Tonya McKenzie: Using Stories to Inspire

Tonya McKenzie’s backstory is described in her book: A Child’s Memory of Cartoons and Murder. From witness protection, her mother in prison, and domestic abuse, there isn’t anything that can keep this woman negative.

Her life provides us with a MasterClass on how to kick the past to the curb in order to thrive and soar.

Tonya McKenzie is a leader in the public relations field and the host of a very popular and must-have Twitter Spaces called PRLunchHour. She is the owner of the PR and leadership consulting firm Sand & Shores; Vice President of the Black PR Society, sits on the Police Engagement Board, and is the Los Angeles County Commissioner of Human Resources. She has two podcasts, is an author and co-author.

“It’s okay to talk about it,” says McKenzie. “And it’s not necessarily who you are. It’s a part of who you become based on how you’ve been able to cope with it, but you’re not responsible for other people’s decisions. Any choice in and how you recover from it really is your opportunity to pave a path for yourself.”

McKenzie steered her interests towards public relations because she liked the aspect of storytelling.

When it comes to PR, this is a woman who pulls no punches. It’s why her agency has been so successful. She has also managed to use her storytelling magic to connect with other PR professionals with her Twitter Spaces: PRLunchHour. Her My Morning Coffee podcast was created for discussions around mental health, women’s issues, and hot topics.

Her favorite part of the job is the people. “When I say the people, it’s really the connection. I just think with everything that we have gone through in this society at this moment, it is so refreshing to know that most of us have more in common than we do different.”

Her profession lends to who she has become: someone resilient, who likes to solve problems, and connect with others, regardless of who they are, what they look like, or where they’re from.

For the full interview.

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