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On the Case With…

Each month, as part of “The Business Case for Public Relations,” PRSA asks an industry leader to reflect on his or her career and make a “business case” for public relations.

More from “On the Case With…”

On the Case with Kelly Schulz


February 3, 2014

Kelly Schulz moved back home to New Orleans in April 2006, seven months after Hurricane Katrina, to join the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and help rebuild the city’s tourism industry. She previously worked in Dallas as communications director for Meeting Professionals International and as an account supervisor for Edelman.

Schulz serves as a spokesperson for New Orleans’ tourism industry and oversees the CVB’s strategic communications, media relations, crisis management, social media and advocacy programs. She holds degrees from LSU in mass communications and psychology.

At this time of year, Schulz discusses what Mardi Gras means to the people of New Orleans as well as tourists, and the planning that goes into the festivities year-round.

“Mardi Gras is a major tourist attraction, but it is a tradition that has been celebrated by local residents since the 1830s,” she says. “There is pageantry, a sense of history and a family-friendly side to Mardi Gras that most people do not see. No city can throw a party like New Orleans and Mardi Gras is the ultimate, four-week celebration that begins every year on January 6, Kings Day. The city administration does a masterful job coordinating the complex logistics with approximately 35 different ‘krewes’ whose parades and hundreds of members roll through the streets with floats, costumed revelers and marching bands.  And last year we hosted a Super Bowl in the middle!”

Name:  Kelly Schulz

Childhood ambition:
To become a nurse — but my career path changed after sitting through one day of biochemistry class at LSU and being completely intimidated!

Current livelihood:
Vice president of communications and public relations for New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau — it’s an honor to represent the 80,000 men and women of New Orleans’ tourism industry.

What changed:
A professor said I was a good writer

First public relations job:
Intern at the Dallas office at Edelman

What you know now that you wish you’d known then:
When dealing with a situation, it is not just about knowing the right answers to questions, it’s about knowing which questions to ask.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received:
You don’t know what you don’t know. That is so true, especially when working with people from other cultures.

Greatest professional accomplishment:
Four months after Hurricane Katrina devastated my hometown of New Orleans and destroyed the homes of my entire family, I was recruited in a national search for the top PR job to restore New Orleans’ tourism industry when the destination had suffered horrible reputation damage. I had been working in Dallas for several years, but moved back home in 2006 to rebuild New Orleans through public relations and promoting its economic engine: tourism.

If you weren’t in public relations, you would be:
A kindergarten teacher

Desired legacy:
Being part of the team that restored New Orleans’ tourism industry, image and economy after Hurricane Katrina

Make a “business case” for public relations:

To be successful, an organization must have the trust and respect of its customers and stakeholders. Public relations creates and maintains that trust.

 



Comments

steve langhorst says:

you have done so many special things for so many in new orleans....and i can just imagine how awesome you would have been as a kindergarten teacher......

February 8, 2014

Sue Huelsmann says:

New Orleans is so lucky to have Kelly Schulz. She puts her heart and soul into her job.

February 9, 2014

Stephanie A. Creech says:

You're doing a great job! As a PR professional, I was in New Orleans last week for a Marketing & Communications Conference held by the American Public Transit Association (APTA). Everywhere we went, the people of NOLa were incredibly friendly. The atmosphere was fabulous, due in part to Mardi Gras. And the service in every restaurant, shop and, of course The Ritz Carlton, was over the top. The feel of the city being devoted to its visitors is evident. Keep up the good work; and, visitors like us will gladly help with the promotions.

March 4, 2014

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