First Person: Carmen Collins, the Social Media Strategizer Behind #WeAreCisco

Carmen Shirkey Collins started her professional life as a journalist, but she found her talent for storytelling was an even better fit for communications. Her love of narrative storytelling led her to become the senior social media and talent brand manager for Cisco’s award-winning Talent Brand team—the folks behind the incredibly popular @WeAreCisco social media accounts. She created the strategy behind making personal connections with current and future talent by amplifying the employee voices in Cisco’s 70K-person organization.

Collins, who lives in Florida,  was named the 2018 and 2019 Digital Communicator of the Year by the Stevie Awards, 2017 and 2018 Social Media Professional of the Year by PRNEWS and a 2017 Top Woman in PR. 

She, like most communicators, has a love-hate relationship with her iPhone.

Here is Carmen Collins, in her own words:

My first job in PR was: I started my marketing journey wanting to be a journalist. It’s a good place to start, because storytelling is a key piece. But I realized the hours and pay weren’t for me. So, I became a copywriter for a magazine.

I chose PR because: I was really good at telling stories.

If I weren’t in PR, I’d be: A full-time novelist – if they’d have me.

The last great business book I read was: "YOUtility," by Jay Baer.

The best personal advice I’ve ever received was: Be yourself and be true to yourself.

The best advice I’ve given is: You’ll never look back at your life when you’re 90 and say “I wish I had worked more.”

If I could solve one big challenge for communicators, it would be: That everyone thinks they can “do marketing” because they have a Twitter account. It’s a skillset, just like I don’t go up to a doctor and think I can “do surgery” because I have a knife.

The last vacation I took was: A Christmas cruise to the Caribbean. Living in Florida has its perks.

The technology I can’t live without is: My iPhone. I’m lost without it. #Sad.

The technology I could certainly live without is: My iPhone. If I was smarter and more concerned about my mental health.

My dream three dinner guests would be: Joss Whedon (writer/creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), J.K. Rowling and Justin Timberlake.

And I’d serve them: Take-out, because I’d prefer that they live through the experience and speak well of me after, and I can’t cook.