PR News recently asked its community to tell us who should be listed among the top game-changers of PR in the last few years. Here, we look at game-changer Vanessa Wakeman. Check out the complete list of the 50 Game-Changers of PR for 2017.
For the past 14 years, Vanessa Wakeman has given her team simple marching orders: to challenge what is before you, in pursuit of a greater good.
Wakeman established the social change firm The Wakeman Agency in 2003, helping nonprofits and socially responsible organizations grow revenue and influence, through public relations and special events. An innovator and disruptor, her dedication to challenging the status quo has led to great success in the social change sector. As a champion for nonprofits, Wakeman consistently encourages organizations to approach PR as a vehicle to influence stakeholders to think and act differently, while accelerating progress on important social issues.
Over the years, Wakeman has spearheaded projects for clients including UCLA’s Civil Rights Project, Metropolitan College of New York, YWCA of New York City, The Africa America Institute, Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, Grace Institute, Craigslist Foundation and other national organizations.
Beyond her work at the agency, Wakeman started the She Roars program in 2016, encouraging women to become thought leaders in the social change sector. With this program, she is working to develop more thought leadership by women as part of their PR efforts, and also create awareness among PR professionals and the media about the need for greater representation of women’s voices in the news. Her overarching goal: to help develop 2,020 women thought leaders by 2020.
Most Interesting Fact Not Found on Vanessa’s Resume
"At 15, I was fired from my first real job for organizing workers in response to unfair labor practices."
Vanessa’s Advice to Her 20-Year-Old Self
"I would tell my 20-year-old self to play, have fun, surround myself with quality people, places and things that inspire me. When making decisions if it’s not a "hell yes" it’s a no, to honor my divine feminine, to celebrate every failure and, most importantly, to always remember that I am magic.”
Vanessa’s Profession in an Alternate Universe
"I would be a venture capitalist, focused on women and minority ventures or a professional student."