Emily Neubauer- 35 Under 35

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

Emily Neubauer
Racine Unified (Wis.) School District

What does leadership mean to you? 
Country music icon Dolly Parton says it all. “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” 

What was the most fulfilling professional moment you have experienced? 
My most fulfilling professional moment happened just last year. Our District used a collaborative approach to completely transform our middle schools, which included closing a middle school, combining a successful elementary school with a failing middle school to create a K8 school and increasing enrollment at two other popular schools. This transformation would only be successful if every middle school family made a school choice. Our department led a robust, multi-faceted communication campaign resulting in a 200 percent increase in the number of families who made a school choice and this fall, we re-opened five middle schools and welcomed thousands of students to our schools. It was a truly collaborative team effort that earned our communications department a Gold Medallion from NSPRA and a chance to present and share our story at the national conference in California.

What are the most challenging and/or rewarding part about working in school PR? 
The most rewarding part about working in school PR is helping school leaders become better communicators and watching them grow into school marketers. It also is rewarding to watch them teach their school staffs how to effectively communicate to their students and families. On the flip side, the most challenging part is convincing school leaders that marketing and communications is part of their job.   

What’s your favorite work app and personal app?
Grammarly is THE BEST! Professional and personal! Instagram is pretty cool, too. 

What book has inspired you professionally? 
The Outward Mindset, by the Arbinger Institute, has changed the way I not only interact at work, but view others both professionally and personally. This book, along with the Arbinger training, offers a new and intuitive way to teach people how to implement mindset change in themselves and scale it across an organization. Several RUSD administrators took part in the Arbinger training last winter and the effect it had on all of us can be seen across the organization. You will frequently hear, “I need to get out of my box,” around the office – meaning we need to change our mindset and see the humanity in others. This book has helped me see others in a different light and instead of being frustrated and defeated by something, instead, I look at situations with the other person’s viewpoint at the forefront of my mind.
How has NSPRA and your state chapter guided you along the way? 
NSPRA has been an amazing resource for me as a young school PR professional. The national conference is an opportunity to learn from some of the best and make connections not only in my region but across the country. I have played an active role in my state chapter, (shout out to WSPRA!) and have really learned so much from my colleagues in Wisconsin. I am really lucky to have such a close network of people willing to drop anything to help out.

What is a recent communications/media campaign you enjoyed – either one of your own or one you saw nationally?
Nike’s Colin Kaepernick advertisements are thoughtful, powerful, controversial, political and emotional. “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything.” The words are hard-hitting enough – now add the man behind them. Wow. Communications and media campaigns that make people think, that push boundaries, that generate water cooler conversations – those are the most effective. In our school PR world, we have the opportunity to create that. We have the opportunity to create effective communication, advertisements, videos, etc. that make people stop and think, wow. Public education is powerful. Yes, we sometimes have politics to play and rules to follow – but we have the platform to make a difference and all of our campaigns should strive to do just that. 

What emerging trends in school public relations get you excited? 
Social media is just taking off! Now more than ever there are so many platforms that can be utilized to not only share information with staff, students and families, but also have a little fun and engage with them on a more persona and authentic l level. Check out our #SuptChuckFriday for an example of just that!