Shayla Cannady - 35 Under 35

35 Under 35 Class of 2018-19
Shayla 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.

Shayla Cannady
Orange County Public Schools
Orlando, FL

What does leadership mean to you?
Contrary to what many believe, leadership has nothing to do with a title or position. Instead it is about one’s ability to motivate a group toward a common goal, and inspire others through their actions. The best leaders are those who respect and humbly serve those they are tasked with managing.

What was the most fulfilling professional moment you have experienced?
This year, our department rolled out a new brand for the district. Although a style guide was in place, we wanted to capitalize on the opportunity to reinforce and stabilize our brand leading up to our 150th anniversary next school year. While most brand rollouts take time to catch fire, it’s amazing to witness so many colleagues commit to adhering to the new standards in such a short amount of time.

What is the most challenging and/or rewarding part about working in school PR?
Orange County Public Schools is the 9th largest school district in the nation. Because of the sheer size of the district, it can be challenging to meet the marketing/communication needs of all schools. While our 196 schools share the same end goal of leading students to success, each site has a unique audience and require tailored messaging to effectively communicate.

What’s your favorite work app and personal app?
Focus is an app that helps with time management. In earlier days, when asked to name a strength, multitasking would top the list. I have learned (and reluctantly accepted) that multitasking applies to computers not people. This app requires me to turn all my attention to a single thing/task for a limited amount of time (and by limited, I mean 25 minutes). Through it, I have increased productivity and found more time to be creative and strategize.

What book has inspired you professionally?
To know me is to understand that I do not enjoy reading. However, following this year’s seminar in Anaheim, I found Dr. Rick Rigsby’s Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout inspiring and applicable to my personal and professional life.

How has NSPRA and your state chapter guided you along the way?
NSPRA has provided me the opportunity to share my expertise beyond my school district, and develop relationships with school PR professionals across the country. Those individuals constantly serve as a sounding board for initiatives/potential challenges we face on a daily basis.

What is a recent communication/media campaign you enjoyed – either one of your own or one you saw nationally?
Whether you’re a Knight fan or not, the University of Central Florida National Champions campaign is one for the record books. As the country’s last undefeated team of the 2017 season, UCF recently hosted ESPN’s College Game Day this season. If you didn’t know, it’s kind of a big deal.

What emerging trends in school public relations get you excited?
While it’s not necessarily an emerging trend, digital storytelling is one that I feel isn’t used enough. Our students and staff are our best testimonials and, without effort, have the ability to motivate and inspire others to support and advocate on behalf of our K-12 institutions. Incorporating these stories on the various platforms that exist, expands the reach of success stories.