When I immigrated from El Salvador five years ago and became a first-generation student in Los Angeles, I never thought I would pick public relations as a career. But looking back, that was the path I wanted to follow all along but did not think I could chase.
I was always attracted to communication, science, researching and writing, but since English was a second language for me, I did not think I could ever be as good in this field as a native speaker. I also thought the public would not trust me to represent an American organization since I was born and raised abroad, making me foreign in most aspects.
Even with all these arguments against me, I decided to pursue the career I wanted. Imagine my surprise when I entered CSU Long Beach and learned that in public relations my diverse perspective was considered an advantage and not a weakness, since I was able to reach the Hispanic community with my understanding of the community. It was at this moment that I knew I wanted to become a PR professional.
I used to believe I needed to erase what made me different from everyone else and fully adapt to the American culture. But becoming a PR student and joining PRSSA has helped me embrace my Salvadorian culture. Being a board member at the Long Beach PRSSA Chapter has given me the opportunity to work with a hardworking group of future PR professionals that make me feel proud of the work we are doing to create opportunities for our fellow members. In 2020 I can see the PR profession becoming more diverse and therefore reaching and connecting with many groups of people that can adapt to any possible scenario, including but not limited to a global pandemic.
For me, diversity and inclusion are key not only in the PR field but overall since it is the best way for us to connect with people. Without inclusion from my teachers, classmates and the PRSSA community I would not be following my dream, I would still think I am not the right person for this industry, and that this community would not understand me.
This Hispanic Heritage Month I will be celebrating with my family and friends who I am and where I am, with some good food and music too, of course. Be proud of who you are because there is no point in living otherwise.
This article is part of PRSSA’s ongoing celebration of Hispanic Heritage month. From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Hispanic Heritage month celebrates the cultures, contributions, and history of Hispanic and Latino Americans. Be on the lookout for stories from students and PR professionals all month long.
Brenda Melara is a junior at California State University, Long Beach and currently serves as the director of fundraisers and events at PRSSA Long Beach. She is currently majoring in public relations with a minor in marketing. Melara wants to one day become a PR professional in the field of Healthcare and Education. In her spare time, Melara can be found reading every good book she can find, in English or Spanish, taking photos of beautiful landscapes and hanging out with family and friends. She hopes to reach out to all PRSSA members with her work organizing various events and showing the friendly environment of the Long Beach Chapter. Connect with her on LinkedIn or visit her website at www.brendamelarabreucop.com