Dream Chaser: Tianna Robinson

Recently, I sat down with Tianna Robinson, a woman who is making big moves in this big city.  I met Tianna at an event she put on and instantly was attracted to her larger than life personality.  She has worked with the best of them and in the short three years that she has been here, she has already made a name for herself in the world of Public Relations.  In addition to rocking the PR world, she is a writer and has written for numerous blogs, including B. Scott & Madame Noire.  Originally from Philadelphia, a graduate of the University of Tampa, she has come along way and is headed to the top.

She gave a great interview and has opened up to us about her journey and where she wants to go from here.  See below…


Where are you from and what brought you to New York City?

I am from Philadelphia and what brought me to New York was entertainment.  I have always had a deep interest in the entertainment business, but I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do in the field.  It started with entertainment magazines, before blogs came out; I always loved reading the magazines.  I always wanted to emerge myself in the entertainment business.  I started college with an international business major, which was not me at all! Sophomore year of college, I was watching a show on VH1 called “How to live like” or something like that, and I was listening to the commentators and industry insiders, thinking I want to be one of those people!   So I took down the name of the people commentating and I researched them.  Which lead me to researching a publicist name Jonathan Cheban, I saw he ran a public relations company called Command PR.  I reached out to him, he loved my drive and ambition, and so I started interning at Command that following summer and the next summer.  I would commute from Philly to NYC four times a week to intern, it all began there.

What has your career goals become?

Once I found out about PR, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.  I always loved writing, I always loved business, I am not that much of a creative person, so I knew that PR was a happy medium between creative and business. I love that conceptually there is room for creativity and close ties to that world, yet the business side still allows me to write, do proposals, budgets, etc.; so overall I felt like PR was a perfect fit for me.  When I first moved to New York, I was going to a lot of these events and meeting celebrities, and I was loving it!  I loved being around the flashing lights. Now, my priorities and interests have changed a bit. I’m not about the scene; I love the science of public relations and building a brand. I want to not only pull off amazing high production events, but I want to be known as an impeccable brand builder.

Are you a freelancer or do you work for a company?

I am a freelancer.

What is the hardest part of freelancing?

The inconsistency of it all, for example, the last two weeks I have been in chill mode, with the whole hurricane happening and then the holidays.  So I did an event right before Sandy, then all of a sudden two events just popped up out of nowhere.  Eventually, it will get to where I will be doing 1 or 2 events per week or large production events such as The Grammy’s or Oscars! It is really a catch 22 because you make your own schedule and do things on your own, but a consistence paycheck and security is always great.

How did you get your name out there, so that people would reach out to you to do events?

Honestly, when I moved to the city, my intentions were not to be a freelancer.  It just happened organically, partially because of the state of the economy right now and the job market.  So I just had to network, I started going to different events meeting people and then I started getting calls.  It was organic, not really intentional.  I am actually still looking for that right job now, but I would rather freelance than be stuck at a job I hate.

So has freelancing been successful for you?

I mean yeah, definitely.  But I still feel like I am a newbie in the game.  I have only been doing it for 3 years, but the experiences I have had in the three years, are far beyond what I imagined to accomplish in such short time, so I’m thankful for that.  I have gotten to travel with famous artist, I have worked with athletes, and I have meet plenty of influential people.  I got to start writing, over all it has been very beneficial.  But I am not going to lie; I am nowhere near where I want to be.

What are your highlights?

Traveling with a Grammy award-winning artist.

What has been the best places you found to network and to push your brand in this city?

I find that a lot of people think that just going to a lot of events and passing out a lot of cards is the way to go.  But I don’t think it is going to every event, I think it is being selective and strategically picking the event, so know what kind of crowd you will be with.  It is not just being on the scene all the time.  It could just be emailing who you want to met.  I found that if you ask, you shall receive.  I also found that if you want to ask someone something, it is as simple as an email.  They will either respond or they won’t, you just have to keep following up if they don’t.  Sometimes it is just best to go to the source.  But networking events are necessary, just not on the scene all the time.

Do you want to eventually start your own PR company?

Eventually yes, but that could be 5 years from now or that could be 20 years from now.  I also want to teach PR at University level one day.   It is actually a dream of mine, I was inspired by a professor of mine, maybe a couple nights a week at whatever local university in the city I decide to settle in.


So do you see yourself staying in New York?


So what are you out here for?  Do you feel like this is just the place to be to get the essences of PR?

I do, but I do not feel as though I am tied down here.

With New York being the biggest market in PR, why did you choose to start in the big league to build your resume?

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.  Simple and easy as that.  I know that when I leave this place, I have accomplished a good amount of things.  So I know I can go anywhere and shut it down.  Somebody once said to me, “Why stay in New York?  You are the little fish in the big sea, go be the big fish in the little sea.”  So eventually I might say, okay I got everything I needed from New York so it is time to go somewhere else.  Nothing is set in stone for me, I never know where my career might take me, I never know where my family might take me, I don’t even know where love will take me.  I might wake up in two years and not want to do PR any more, l love it, but I am not married to it.

Lets take a step away from your career.  What do you do to relax?

It is literally vacation away from the city.  I hop on the bus and go back home to Philly.  I hop on a plane and go visit friends in other states.  Sometimes I feel like I have to get away from this jungle.  You know my home is a very small home, but it is my place of peace.  I am homebody, I might go out and do stuff every now and then, but you won’t see me out every night.  I love reading books, watching TV, cooking…

What advice would you give to anyone coming to NYC?

It is not for everybody!  If you are not ready to struggle and grind and be told no 1,000 times before you’re told yes, then this might not be for you.  If you do not have thick skin, this might not be for you.  You will hear rejection, but just remember when one-door closes another one opens and know what is meant to be will be.  Be strong and be persistent, and don’t lose yourself.  I feel that a lot of people come here and they lose themselves and lose sight.  They get so caught up in the fast life, that they forget they came here to pursue a dream. Don’t lose yourself in pursue of that dream, because New York will chew you up and spit you out, I have seen it happen a lot of times.  I have seen people leave broken and changed, don’t let it change you for the worst.  Come pursue your dreams, but still remain whole and true to yourself.

What do you want your legacy to be in New York?

I want a build-board in Time Squares (laughs) like Diddy.  No really- I just want people to know that I lived!  I don’t have this set legacy, I don’t have to say I have this company and I am this and that, happiness is most important to me.  I live on impulse; if I want to do something I do it.  I want to say I helped people, I like to connect people and bring people together to do great things. I would love to have my name associated with things that are positive and prosperous.

What drives you to stay here?

Fear of failure and disappointing myself.  I don’t want to wake up in 10 years with any regrets and the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s.  Honestly, since failure is not an option, I don’t have a choice but to stay.  For now, New York is home, this is it for me.

How can people find you?

Very easy…email me! Tianna@tiannarobinson.com

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