Sheila WeissMASTER OF CREATIVITY AND PUBLIC RELATIONS, SUPERB WRITER, SMALL BUT MIGHTY
Grows up in Pittsburgh, overlooking river, steel mills and smokestacks. Leaves for Michigan State University and finally takes a deep breath. Graduates with double major in Education and English/Communications and double minor (always an overachiever). Marries and moves to Chicago. Teaches fifth grade and convinces Northwestern University to grant master’s degree for the study of creativity. After winter of record cold, moves to Florida to thaw out, eventually settling in Sarasota.
Hits the ground running. Develops creative children’s programs at Ringling Museums, creates lunch and learn program for city employees and sits on boards of various non-profits. Begins career in advertising/public relations, serving as vice president/creative director for 10+ years. Develops many award-winning marketing campaigns for diverse list of clients. Decides it’s time for another breath of fresh air.
Doesn’t exactly find it during short stint with “Devil Wears Prada” boss marketing new luxury condominium on Longboat Key. Leaves $600,000 marketing budget for a $6,000 budget as head of communications and community relations for Sarasota County Public Schools. Creative problem solving kicks in. In a department of one, handles media and public relations, crisis communication, event planning, writing and angry calls from parents.
Abilities put to the test on 9/11 when President Bush is at local school during terrorists attack. Worldwide attention lasts five years. With six superintendents in 10 years, learns necessity of adapting, changing writing style, spinning ever-changing strategies and always having a spare blazer for unexpected TV interviews.
Proudest achievements include passing two increased millage referendums for operating budget and developing the Citizens Academy, a nationally recognized community involvement model program.
Another deep breath leads to position with Voss & Associates, where joy of interpreting client’s needs successfully is balanced with joy of playing with grandchildren.
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