By: Jesse Stone

(L-R) Michelle Laquindanum, Maryan Montgomery, Elizabeth Pearson, Chrisie Yabu, Lizbeth Alvarez and Lucas Furrer at an event on Wednesday, Feb. 27. The event allowed students to hear from Christie Yabu speak about pursuing jobs despite racial boundaries.

The senior director of national public relations for KPS3, Chrisie Yabu discussed overcoming racial boundaries on Wednesday, Feb. 27th at the Reynolds School of Journalism.

Yabu is an experienced professional in the communications field who has had years of work with multiple different agencies. She is also a recipient of the Accreditation of Public Relations award. This credential is given out by the Public Relations Society of America to demonstrate competence, expertise and the progressive standards within the Public Relations field.

“Asian American women are not primarily known for work in the communications field… If there’s someone outside who’s been encouraged, I want them to feel like there’s no barrier,” said Yabu.

Yabu started her discussion by explaining the importance of her hometown community and how her own personal inspirations, Wendy Tokuda, Jan Yanehiro and Connie Chung, put her on the path to a communications career.

Yabu mentioned her acceptance to USC and the support she received looking for scholarships to attend.

“Start thinking about who your role models are in popular culture and the media,” said Yabu. “I got letters from people in my community that I never even met that worked at huge agencies who were USC alumni that found me through the alumni group and encouraged me to attend.”

Yabu said she hopes students will talk to someone who guides them so they can simultaneously relate to and see as a mirror to themselves.

Yabu explained her professional experiences working for different agencies and explained the importance of mentorship in promoting diversity. She spoke about the success of one of her current clients at KPS3 in solving disproportionality issues in the judiciary.

“Judges have to represent the kids and the families that they see on the bench. For a little child in foster care, they are primarily Black or Hispanic. If they don’t see a judge who looks like them, then they can’t relate to their protection and their rights,” said communications manager at the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judgement, Victor Leyba.

The event was the first of a series hosted by the Diverse Voices Amplify Public Relations campaign. The next event featured Reno City Councilman Oscar Delgado, Carolina Devin and Martinez Williams on Tuesday, March 5.

The campaign was created by the Public Relations Student Society of America Nevada Bateman Case Study Competition Team.

“Our campaign is to try to create a more inclusive school,” account executive for the Bateman Competition Team Lizbeth Alvarez said.

The team provides 11 sponsorships funded by the City of Reno to students interested in attending college for communication.

Many students don’t realize that becoming a communications or public relations professional is an option, according to Alvarez.

For more information about upcoming events, visit https://www.diversityampspr.com/

Jesse Stone can be reached at oali@sagebrush.unr.edu or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.