Arianna Vazquez-Hernandez-35 Under 35

35 Under 35 Class of 2018-19
Arianna is one of 35 professionals, age 35 and under, who is part of the Class of 2018-19. These 35 individuals are emerging leaders who are making a difference in school public relations.



Arianna Vazquez-Hernandez
Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD
Pharr, Texas

What does leadership mean to you? 
Leadership exists at every level. Leadership is imperative in making sure an organization, a department or an initiative is successful. It is the force that drives the work forward and ensures any obstacles getting in the way are removed if needed. It is a very important piece in all that we do.

What was the most fulfilling professional moment you have experienced? 
I have had several throughout my years in this profession, but the latest one brought tears to my eyes. I started in my current position close to 12 years ago, in a district that at that time was going through some very troubling times. Student and staff morale was low and trust was nearly non-existent. It has taken a lot of communication, transparency and perseverance to move the district forward. Our main goal was to change the perception of the district and show the gem it really is. We recently had a district visit and as part of it we had a student panel with representatives from each of our five high schools. When asked what they were more thankful for, without prompting them or speaking to them prior, they all replied they were thankful for our PSJA Family and all of the opportunities we have provided them. They said how proud they were of being part of this amazing district. Listening to that brought tears to my eyes because it is not just a slogan, it is the culture and reality of our district. It feels great to know I was a small part of that transformation. 

What are the most challenging and/or rewarding part about working in school PR? 
The most challenging is probably the most common one…no one knows what we do. We get are hands in so many initiatives, programs, crisis situations, the works, but we are behind the scenes and people sometimes forget we are there. At the end of the day, the most rewarding part is knowing we helped make it happen and people knew about it because we told the story, or people learned about what was going on because we informed them. That is our job and I love it!

What’s your favorite work app and personal app?
I work with almost all of them for work, but Facebook is still my favorite because I get to see the sentiment of our stakeholders first hand. I especially love to see what our followers are posting when they share our content. If they don’t have a closed or private page, I am able to see their kudos and appreciation for our district work and I love sharing screenshots of those words with our administration and principals. On the personal side, I am using Twitter and LinkedIn. I use both platforms for my professional growth and networking. I love to see what others are working on, how they have solved a problem, or are utilizing the newest and latest marketing tools to reach their audiences. I also share our work and our success through those pages.    

What book has inspired you professionally? 
Growth Mindset, by Carol Dweck, seriously changed my life! It helps you navigate through not only your professional, but your personal life as well. I loved it so much, I had the team read it and share out. I hope it helped them like it helped me. I recommend it to anyone that is willing to listen!
How has NSPRA and your state chapter guided you along the way? 
I started in this business a little over a decade ago and I had missed my state chapter conference, so NSPRA was my first experience with professional development. I remember I came back with my legal pad full of ideas. I had just opened the first PR office at my hometown district and I wanted to do it all! My superintendent listened to my ideas, sat back and told me something I will never forget. He said, you are like a kid in a candy store, but remember you can only start one thing at a time. I took his advice and established many of the great ideas I “borrowed” from the great leaders presenting at NSPRA in 2006. Since, I have had the privilege to keep growing professionally through both TSPRA and NSPRA by being part of many committees and during the last several years volunteering my time as Vice President of the Gulf Coast Region at TSPRA, and most currently the At-Large Vice-President Place 3.

What is a recent communications/media campaign you enjoyed – either one of your own or one you saw nationally?
“Proud Member of our PSJA Family” – it is our own, but as I described above, it is one that makes me so happy. We have really reached a new level with this campaign. As part of it, we created car decals, yard signs and videos highlighting the various generations of PSJA Family members that are now prominent members of our community, and their children who are future graduates of our system. I get really excited every time I see a car with our decal stating proudly who they are and where they come from. We will turn 100 next year and this is a great start to our Centennial campaign.

What emerging trends in school public relations get you excited?                 
Content Marketing – it is the new way of doing marketing and I love it because it is so much more personal and detailed. We must do our legwork and really work on reaching each audience not create a blanket for all of them to fall into. It is harder, but with emerging technology it is an exciting time to be in the business.