Verge NXT: Cherrelle Jefferson

Recently, we had the chance to chat with Cherrelle Jefferson who is taking the PR world by storm! Her work has earned her a nomination for Young Professional of the Year at the PR Moment Awards and the respect of her peers in the industry. You have probably seen some of her fantastic work with Pepsi or Redbreast Whiskey—Cherrelle Jefferson is taking over the industry. Take a look at what she has to say about it.

 

Verge: Firstly, congratulations on your nomination for Young Professional of the Year at the PR Moment awards. What does this award mean to you?

Cherrelle Jefferson: Thank you! It is a huge honour to be recognised amongst a number of extremely talented, hard-working professionals. When I first heard I’d been shortlisted, I was speechless! It was actually the morning after my colleague and I had pulled an all-nighter, participating in the Cannes Young Lions competition, so I was slightly delirious when the company email went round.

 

I pride myself on giving everything I do 100% of my time and effort. Whether it’s working on a global project or drafting objectives for my team, so to have this acknowledged is something I am really proud of.

 

V: What is your favourite experience you have been able to have while working as an Account Director?

CJ: Not to sound cliche, but working and learning alongside some of the most brilliant PR managers and creatives day-to-day makes work, not work. I constantly say “I’m learning so much everyday” and it’s so true. I think the minute you feel like you’re not learning, it’s time to switch things up and make a change.

In terms of work, taking a leading PR role for Pepsi’s annual global football campaigns over the past three years has been amazing. I am a huge sports fan, so it really does allow me to mix business with pleasure – which is always important! For the latest campaign, I spent some time on-set with Messi and Ronaldinho, which was a real ‘pinch myself’ moment that I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

 

V: What is your dream project or collaboration?

CJ: Working on a campaign with Cristiano Ronaldo! Ha, honestly as a Manchester United fan he was my idol growing up and I haven’t seemed to shift that love for him over the years (cringe!) So anything that involves working with him, would be a real tick on the career bucket list.

As for my more professional answer; we recently did some pro bono work with a social enterprise, This is Dementia, who is raising funds and awareness of early on-set dementia through the sales of uniquely designed t-shirts. I found this project really fulfilling, not only because we were supporting a wonderful cause, but because it also really showcased the power of PR and influencers, measured by the in-flux of sales, which was exactly our aim. So some more work like that would be great.

 

V: Do you have any advice for people who want to start working in media/PR?

CJ: Don’t let any lack of experience put you off applying for an entry-level position! I didn’t get into PR until I was 24, having spent my time since leaving uni – where I did musical theatre – trying to figure out what it was I wanted to do as a career. For me, when hiring a new starter, I look beyond what is (or isn’t) written on a CV. If you have good communication skills, are organised, committed, and eager to learn, then the other things can be taught.

 

Networking is also very important. Use LinkedIn to connect with people and follow industry organisations, brands and agencies on social media to ensure you’re kept up to date on new campaigns and conversations. This is also where you’ll find a lot of job listings too!

 

 V: What are some challenges you have faced and what motivates you to overcome them?

CJ: Something I find challenging is personal confidence, which actually wasn’t something I was aware of until award season and I was approached to be put forward for certain categories. My immediate reaction when being asked was “no”. Being recognised for effectively ‘doing my job’ wasn’t something I felt warranted a nomination and made me feel uncomfortable. Part of this is likely down to putting yourself in such a vulnerable position and the other part is perhaps an element of impostor syndrome – something that I know a lot of professional women experience.

It wasn’t until I worked through the entry form that I started to come around to the idea of the application being submitted. Writing everything you have achieved down on a page is something I’d encourage everyone to do, to help show your career journey and progression. Life is often so fast-paced that we often forget to take a step back and reflect, which I think is really important and can be really powerful. You really will be amazed at what you have accomplished, but you have to get over that initial self doubt, because everyone else believes in you.

 

V: What are you most excited about in the future?

I don’t try to worry about the future too much (says the girl with an ever-evolving 5 year life plan) because I think personal occurrences, and of course the pandemic, makes you realise that no one can predict what is around the corner.

 

Having said that, I am a proud member of the Women in Football community and they are doing stellar work to help shape inclusion in the beautiful game. With the Women’s Euros taking place on home soil this summer and with recent headlines like FC Barcelona Women’s team attracting record crowds to the Nou Camp, I think the game is certainly going in the right direction and with the Women’s World Cup also taking place in 2023, for me, it’s inevitable that more and more brands are going to get behind it – which I can’t wait to see and hopefully be a part of too!

You can follow Cherrelle here: @CherrelleJj on Twitter

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