15 to Watch (Corporate/Nonprofit): Aerial Ellis

Public Information Officer, Tennessee State University • Age: 27

Recognizing that academic institutions need Web 2.0 too, Aerial Ellis developed the Tennessee State University’s first social media marketing program. Using new tools and technologies, she lifted the school’s online presence and put social interaction front and center. Since elements of the plan have been implemented, the university has consistently increased production of quality news and fostered more positive global outreach. In addition, the Nashville-based Ellis runs Urbane Imagery, a PR consultancy for entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations.

Learning Experience

“You have to be in a perpetual state of education— for yourself and your clients,” she says. “I think I mirror a standard that shows the depth in how we actually shape public opinion through media. Facing those challenges has allowed me to gain a great deal of respect for the industry and make professional contributions that have real impact.”

Positive Impact

“I hope that my work yields a positive impact on the audiences that it reaches, especially young girls and minorities. Many young girls are negatively influenced by images in the media. Additionally, minorities, especially African-Americans, still long for more positive images of our culture in the media. Over the years, I plan to create and brand images they can be proud of. “ â–