Published on December 30, 2016, at 6:22 p.m.
by Kennedy Studdard.
Maybe it’s the way she commands a room. Or maybe it’s the way she makes herself extremely approachable. Perhaps it’s her ability to effectively communicate a story, a message, or an idea and create something memorable and inspiring. Keisa Sharpe is a powerhouse, and through her influence and encouragement, she’s able to inspire everyone she meets.
As a media relations specialist for Alabama Power Company in Birmingham, Alabama, Sharpe might be tasked with talking about power outages, hosting media training, escorting members of the media around the Birmingham office or writing and editing stories for AlabamaNewsCenter.com, just to name a few. But long before her Alabama Power career, Sharpe attended The University of Alabama.
At one point, Sharpe considered majoring in various fields, such as economics, mathematics and industrial engineering, and even considered obtaining a law degree before she remembered her passion for communications.
“It came to a point where I told myself, ‘This isn’t working; what am I going to do?’ And then I remembered, I love storytelling and sharing the message of others,” Sharpe said.
And it’s no surprise for those that know her that Sharpe’s love of communicating would lead her to more than 20 fulfilling years in the industry. But what most don’t know is that her love originally began when she was 10.
“I remember standing in front of the mirror and reciting television commercials,” Sharpe laughed. “My mom thought it was hilarious, but that’s where it all began.”
Then in college, after she switched to broadcast journalism, Sharpe would come home every day and tell her roommate about what she was learning in the broadcast courses.
Sharpe put what she learned in class to the test by taking on several jobs and internships while obtaining her undergraduate degree. She knew that working at two radio stations and at the public television station would give her the upper hand when pursuing a broadcasting career post-college, and her involvement opened up many doors for her post-graduation.
“During my senior year, I would get up at 5 a.m. to get to work by 6, and back then I would question myself, [asking] if this was worth it at the time. But looking back, it was always the right choice to establish myself and set myself apart,” Sharpe said.
And set herself apart she did.
Longtime colleague and friend Ike Pigott can attest to Sharpe’s abilities and empowering personality.
“We’ve worked together now for 19 years. We’ve both [worked in] nonprofit and broadcasting, and now corporate,” said Pigott.
Even after all this time, Pigott still remembers the first time he witnessed Sharpe’s ability to stay calm in an unnerving situation.
“No matter how bad the circumstance, or crazy the situation, it’s a marvel to sit back and watch how she’s able to keep control of the situation,” Pigott said. “I thought, ‘Now here’s somebody who really knows how to read the room, understand her audience and won’t get ruffled,’ and most people don’t have the benefit to work with the same person for years and know that somebody’s going to have your back.”
Pigott and Sharpe met years ago at ABC 33/40 where they worked together at the news station for about eight years until Pigott left. Sharpe left a year later, and they both ended up working together again at The American Red Cross. Then they both moved into roles at Alabama Power, where they’ve been able to continue working together for almost a decade.
Beyond being a media relations specialist at Alabama Power, Sharpe is a motivational speaker. She mostly speaks to women’s groups to encourage them for success in both life and the workplace.
Sharpe wants to encourage college students pursuing a degree in communications, specifically broadcast journalism, to hang in there.
“I worked three jobs in addition to taking classes, and I was a five-year student,” Sharpe stated. “But I followed my heart, and owned my own path.”
By owning her own path, Sharpe was able to pave the way for her career. She has had an amazing journey, and can attribute her current success to her experiences during college as well as afterward in both the broadcasting industry and nonprofit industry.
“It’s so nice to see that over 20 years how I can better service people because of my original broadcasting background,” Sharpe said. “I took all of the knowledge I learned from UA and fused them together with my interests and skills from over the years, and now I’m able to use all of that on behalf of, and communicate on behalf of, one of Alabama’s largest companies.”
Sharpe acknowledges that companies are doing a whole lot more these days to communicate more with their customers, and Pigott has seen how Sharpe keeps up with the trends.
“I’ve watched her embrace new skill sets and stretch her abilities as a communicator,” Pigott said. “[Keisa] started embracing blogging and social media long before it was popular, and she taught those skills to members of the PR department at one of our Alabama Power classes.”
Limitless would be the best word to describe Sharpe because she’s full of knowledge, experiences and skills, and yet she never stops learning and improving herself while also taking the time to motivate and support others along the way.
A woman of grace, wisdom and many talents, Sharpe as an individual can carry her own. But more importantly, she’s a powerhouse, both inside and outside of the workplace, and every day she goes above and beyond to help encourage others along the way.