In a famous quote it is said that in life “10 percent is what happens to you, and 90 percent is how you respond to it.”
When it comes to California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) alumna Chardae Jenkins (Class of ’13, B.A., communications) who follows this belief, one gets the impression that in terms of living a rich and rewarding life–no matter how it’s broken down–she has always been all in.
“I have shiny ball syndrome. When I’m not busy I’m going to get into something. I’m like, ‘I want this opportunity, I want that one,’ but now that I have a steady job, I have something I love doing very much to focus on,” said the 24-year-old who grew up in San Diego and now lives in Hawthorne. “But still, when people bring me opportunities I’m like, ‘Sure, I’ll help.’ I’ve always been like that, which is good because it is also great for my resume. I think my resume is one of my biggest assets.”
For someone who graduated from CSUDH a little more than a year ago, her resume does make a good impression with its extended list of communications-related positions, both as a student and in the workforce.
Starting just a month after graduation in 2013 as an intern at Allied Moxy, Jenkins has since moved up to digital publicity coordinator. Launched in 2012, Allied Moxy is a division of the internationally-focused firm Allied Integrated Marketing. The firm’s client list reads like a “who’s who” from the consumer brand and entertainment industries, including Universal Pictures, ABC and Paramount Pictures. Allied Moxy creates innovative campaigns that merge publicity, promotions, digital and outreach to speak directly to African-American audiences.
Though she performs some traditional public relations at Allied Moxy-trying to generate publicity through story placements in print publications-Jenkins focuses more attention on developing and garnering digital publicity on the web and in social media.
More specific responsibilities of Jenkins at Allied Moxy include assisting in the development of national marketing and publicity campaigns, conducting research to support marketing strategies, and managing its national press list and publicity breaks for national campaigns. She also leads social influencer programs, actively pitches and places trend stories in the media and secures post-VIP event coverage
“Moxy is amazing. It’s my dream job. We work on so many great campaigns and awesome projects. Our team is very forward-thinking. We are truly leading the discussion regarding what’s happening in African-American space,” said Jenkins. “When we have staff meetings and brainstorm new projects, there’s an understanding that no idea is a bad one and that everyone’s voice gets heard. And our diverse backgrounds enable us to come up with pretty awesome ideas and campaigns.”
Jenkins finds the African-American market that she focuses on to not only be rewarding, but a cutting-edge community that drives American popular culture and brand awareness.
“Urban culture does drive American culture. African-Americans are just so trendy and flashy. When I look at music videos now and see someone like Miley Cyrus and others, I notice that many of their images and styles stem from what I’ve seen in the African-American space,” says Jenkins. “Urban culture and urban entertainment–people look at it and say, ‘Now that’s cool!’ Also, the majority of users on Twitter and Instagram are African-Americans, and a lot of people don’t know that. I think it’s a great thing.”
She continued. “The [City of] Ferguson situation, for example, has made a huge impact. Now it’s not only the media telling the story, it’s everyone; they’re on Vine, Twitter and other platforms to show what’s really going on. We are seeing people using social media to have discussions, tell stories, and challenge thinking.”
During her first four months at Allied Moxy, Jenkins also held the position of social media community manager at Buzzsmith Marketing, an online marketing firm and a big proponent of social media.
At Cal State Dominguez Hills, where she was honored with the 2013 Presidential Outstanding Student Award, Jenkins served as executive vice president/vice president of Academic Affairs for Associated Students, Inc., was the assistant marketing writer and social media manager for the College of Extended and International Education, and served as chair and vice chair of the board of directors for the Loker Student Union.
She was a popular on-air personality for CSUDH’s online radio station KDHR, and was president of the Pan African Union in which she led the planning of the annual fashion show, the largest student-coordinated event on campus. In fact, her team received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Program by a Student Organization twice for its work on the fashion show. Off campus, she is a member of the NAACP and the Carson Black Chamber of Commerce.
Jenkins credits CSUDH associate professor and chair of communications Sharon Sharp and communications lecturer Christian Russo for providing her a quality academic introduction to the fields of communications.
“Dr. Sharp really taught me to understand the psychology and theories about this exciting field,” she said, “and I made sure I understood what I was being taught at CSU Dominguez Hills. What I learned really helped at work, especially in regards to social media and new marketing, and to understand how people are using these technologies to better engage, message and have conversations.”
For current communications students who are interested in digital public relations, Jenkins recommends asking different departments or colleges on campus if they need help with social media.
She also offers this advice.
“They need to stay up on what’s going on. There so many things that happen that impact communities across the world, and that is very prominent in my job. We know what’s going on, what the conversation is socially, on Twitter and other platforms, and when things happen,” Jenkins shared. “I subscribe to Ad Week and Variety because I just want to stay in the know. So much goes into it and knowing about it is a huge part of social media. It’s so much of the job. I always have notifications going off on my phone.”