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From Alabama to the Big Apple

Published on November 17, 2023, 5:20 p.m.
by Ali Burleson.

Every day thousands of New Yorkers step out onto the crosswalk among bright lights, honking horns and the smell of hot, steamy pizza cooking around the corner. It’s the norm in this lively, bustling city. These are all things that encapsulate the New York City lifestyle for those like Amanda Le when moving from Birmingham, Alabama.

Ambitious beginnings

Amanda Le

The Alabama native endured hard work and exhibited determination to get to where she is now as an integrated sales planner and contributing writer for Hearst Magazines. As the world’s largest lifestyle publisher, Hearst boasts a diverse portfolio comprising over 25 brands in the United States, a network of 175 websites and a presence in over 200 magazine editions worldwide.

Le’s educational journey began at The University of Alabama, where she delved into the realms of public relations and business. Her experiences in these diverse fields paved the way for her career, driven by her unwavering ambition. Le always had her professional sights set on something big. A little girl with big dreams turned into a mature, young adult ready to take on the industry.

“I definitely didn’t know my direct path, but I knew I wanted to work in media in some capacity,” Le said. “I gravitated toward PR because I enjoyed writing and believed there was room for creativity while helping brands make their mark.”

Though Le had a wide skill set, she wasn’t sure where she intended to take her career. In college, she was the founder of her own jewelry company. The lessons learned from her business venture would serve her well in the fashion-oriented industry she would later embrace. Le said her small business “taught me a lot … and that’s what gave me a creative outlet for the fashion interest that led me to where I am today.”

Entering the fast lane

Le’s internships in college provided hands-on experience and helped her adapt to the fast-paced and competitive world of NYC. She was able to nail down internships in the Big Apple with the Museum of Public Relations and Spector PR before she even stepped out of college with a degree in 2019.

“After completing my internship in the city, I knew I wanted to make NYC my home after graduation. I knew I would do whatever it took to get there,” Le said.

While interning, she planned events. She wrote press releases. She did it all, and every experience she had adequately prepared her for her current success. Additionally, Le proved herself to be a powerhouse PR student by immersing herself in organizations like PRCA and PRSSA, while writing for The Crimson White.

Navigating the concrete jungle of sales and editorial

In her current professional role, Le collaborates with various media outlets and clients, maintaining relationships and helping drive advertising and sales efforts. Her initial foundation in public relations prepared her to excel in various roles where communication and relationship-building are crucial.

Continuously enhancing her social media skill set, Le contributes to the success of multiple brands, including prominent ones like Good Housekeeping. Her proactive approach involves brainstorming ideas, crafting compelling content and managing the online presence across platforms such as Instagram and TikTok.

Furthermore, Le is a committed advocate for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Le is co-lead for Hearst’s AAPI group, showcasing her dedication to involvement and inclusivity. At the heart of the AAPI group’s mission is the desire to create a sense of community for Hearst employees of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage.

“Amanda is a go-getter,” Alana Doyle, a fellow UA alum and close friend of Le’s, said. “Once she puts her mind to something, she doesn’t quit until she succeeds. Ever since she arrived to New York she has innately had the ‘hunger’ that makes you thrive in the toughest, but greatest, city in the world.”

Mike Little, a senior advertising and PR instructor at UA, recognized Le as a “triple threat.” According to Little, she knows effective practices that aid in advertising, public relations and journalism.

She attributes much of what she learned to the UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences, and she said she “uses those skill sets every day.” As multitalented as Le is, she gets to unleash her skills in many different capacities. “Sales and marketing are so different from the editorial side,” she said. “I knew I wanted to write eventually, but it was really hard for me to navigate how. Networking was so important.”

Brewing success with coffee and connections

Networking is a critical aspect of succeeding in career development. In a blog by BetterUp, networking is described as “the opportunity to access … wisdom and career advice,” and it “is key to … future growth.”

Like any emerging professional, Le got out into the world and sold herself. “When it comes to networking, I’ve never seen someone build, maintain and grow relationships with people like Amanda,” Doyle said. “She goes out of her way to make people feel comfortable. She proactively introduces herself to the few people she doesn’t know, whether it’s in the office or at events.”

Photo by @Geber86 via Adobe Stock

Le said she invited editors to sit down and have coffee with her so that she could ask the important questions. “I asked them the best ways I could build my experience after being in the advertising industry for a couple of years. Trying to navigate a totally different industry can be tough. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how kind and willing to help people were.”

She did not let anything hold her back. Le now creates captivating and persuasive content that connects with audiences across various magazines, including ELLE and Harper’s BAZAAR. Her sales experiences, public relations background and role as a contributing writer at Hearst Magazine guide her to approach writing with a distinctive perspective.

The city that never sleeps

Le’s remarkable journey can be attributed to her unwavering work ethic and her exceptional talent for transforming chaos into well-structured order. “You don’t get to where she is without a strong work ethic,” Little said.

Doyle noted, “Beyond effectively communicating with her boss and colleagues, Amanda keeps her schedule highly organized. With multiple post-work events with some of the top fashion brands in the world to workout classes to personal activities, Amanda somehow is able to do it all. And at each event, she’s fully present and embracing every moment.”

Amanda Le

Such moments come with challenges, because the industry is always changing. Le demonstrates excellence in growing and adapting to these changes. As an established professional in the New York City landscape, Doyle emphasized the importance of staying informed about current industry trends, asserting, “In this industry, staying in the loop of what’s currently happening is vital to being successful.”

Reflecting on Le’s remarkable adaptability, Little added, “I think [Amanda] could do anything she wants to do. She’s just talented in so many areas, and I think she’s one of those people that could fill any job description.”

Public relations is a broad degree, and Le is surely an example of how practitioners can utilize PR skills in various aspects of the professional world. As noted by Forbes, public relations “is a key management tool for [a business] to help achieve its goals.” Le’s journey exemplifies the versatility of a public relations degree, highlighting how PR skills can be applied in various professional domains, from advertising and sales to writing.

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