Sebrina Kepple is a PR manager with 10 years of experience in the industry. Since beginning her career, she has amassed a wealth of corporate and brand PR knowledge from both in-house and consultancy roles. She is currently a custodian of McAfee’s international PR, where she looks after the organisation’s PR campaigns across EMEA, APAC and LATAM. She believes the best campaigns are research-led and have an emotive impact on the target audience.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
Spirited Jamaican-born food lover
How did you get into PR/communications?
I dreamt of being a pilot. With private flying lessons being unaffordable, so much so that I have only had one lesson in 10 years, I planned on joining the RAF. However, I quickly found out that I was missing basic cadet pilot requirements like 20/20 vision. The summer before I took my final A-levels, my older brother sat me down and asked, “If you can’t be a pilot, what are you going to do with your life, what are you good at?”. I must have had an overtly embarrassed facial expression, because he immediately attempted to reassure me by telling me how much of a people person I am. This did not dispel my fears, but it did make me think about what am good at and what I enjoy. This led me to study PR at university and was the start of my career.
What do you love about your job?
I love seeing great campaigns come to life. I enjoy the whole process from the conception of an idea to collaborating with creative minds, making it happen and seeing the results. I also love that my current role spans across EMEA and APAC. Managing these regions has given me opportunities to travel, experience different cultures and meet new people.
What are you most proud of?
As cliché as it sounds, I am most proud of my family. Nothing holds a candle to the potential I see in my children every day. My mother, siblings, aunts, and cousins are inspirational. Their willpower, boundless ability to love, and successes also make me very proud.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
Don’t try to be someone else. Embrace who you are and do it your way. Sometimes our insecurities can prevent us from going for opportunities and self-doubt can stand in the way of great potential.
Who are your favourite people in PR and why?
One of my favourite people in PR is Dr Linda Deigh. She was one of my tutors at university who was super supportive and encouraging.
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
Comprehension. We need the ability to quickly and thoroughly grasp the subject or product we are communicating about to tell its story effectively.
What is your favourite social network and why?
I think the best platform for me at the moment is Instagram. I shop, book appointments, and stalk my family, friends, and favourite stars all at the same time.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
I have just started listening to Hot Happy Mess. It’s funny, relatable, and often has good advice.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Oprah Winfrey. I admire her honesty and her wit. Not only are her interview skills timeless, but she has also used her influence to build platforms that help others to overcome barriers and succeed.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Even superheroes ask for help when needed.” I love a good superhero story, so this resonated with me. Asking for help is not a weakness. Knowing your limitations and being able to collaborate with others is a strength and can lead to the best results.
Biggest PR campaign fail and yay of 2021 so far?
I loved Tommee Tippee’s ‘The Boob Life’ campaign. I think this integrated campaign is well balanced and does a great job of promoting Tommee Tippee’s products while using research to highlight real issues for their target audience. The campaign is real, uncensored, and goes beyond promoting products to providing sources of support for their target audience.
I disliked the UK government’s Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives campaign. For the most part, the messaging has been inconsistent and has led to confusion. Particularly, amongst Boris Johnson and his pals, who seem to have a different set of rules. The vaccination component of the campaign has also been distasteful and condescending. It attempted to dismiss fears as conspiracy theories without evidence, and has contributed to a lack of trust and vaccine hesitancy.
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to encourage diversity?
Firstly, I think more industry leaders need to recognise that a lack of diversity is a real issue for their businesses. They need to acknowledge that diversity initiatives aren’t trends and that these issues aren’t resolved by just hiring one person of colour.
For businesses to benefit from diverse talent, differences need to be celebrated and business culture should enable PR professionals from all backgrounds to be comfortable being their true selves.
I also think we as BAME comms professionals need to stand up more and showcase our talents, not just for the accolades but to help pave the way for others.
Sebrina was awarded a place on The Xec. Leadership Scheme for UK-based Black, Asian, Mixed Race and Ethnic Minority PR and comms pros. She will be mentored by Doyel Maitra, Group Communications Director and Board Member, Hachette UK.