At an early age, Sunni Blevins Brown knew she wanted a career in the public eye. In fact, when she was a young girl, she wanted to be a country music star. “But then I figured out I couldn't sing,” laughed Brown.
At Emory & Henry, she turned her attention to mass communications and discovered a passion for meeting the challenges of bringing accurate news and information to a broader public through a wide variety of media.
As a student, Sunni worked for the college newspaper, the Whitetopper; the campus radio station, WEHC; and the campus television station, EHC-TV. As a student journalist, she was selected to receive a coveted paid fellowship with the International Radio and Television Society Foundation (IRTS) that allowed her to work in New York City for NBC News.
After graduating in 2005 with a double major in mass communications and English literature, Sunni’s first job was as a producer, reporter, and assignment editor for WCYB-TV in Bristol, Va. Only two years later, she was offered a job as a reporter at NBC 12 in Richmond where she stayed for five years, becoming the Saturday morning anchor and morning reporter before making a switch to public relations.
“I absolutely loved my career in television news, especially being an anchor. It was a fun job, and I was able to report local, regional, state, national and international news. Being an anchor allowed me to deliver hard, late-breaking news and feature stories all within the same hour, which I loved,” said Brown. “I also enjoyed being a reporter. I thrived on working under a tight deadline and enjoyed reporting on information that was important and necessary for people to know about their community.”
Sunni recently accepted a job as the assistant director of media and public relations at the University of Richmond, where she fields media inquiries, connects reporters with what’s happening on campus, and helps share college news using a variety of mediums including social media platforms.
Brown, who resides with her husband and two children in Richmond, previously worked for Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles as a public relations and media liaison. Her main duty was to serve as the agency’s spokesperson, handling print, radio and television inquiries on a variety of topics from throughout the state.
“I also worked on a number of internal and external communications projects. One of the most interesting was notifying moped owners that because of a new law they now need to title and register their mopeds with DMV. This campaign was unique because we had to reach a group of citizens who have not been required to interact with DMV before. Social media was a big help.”
“My work in television news has no doubt made me an effective public relations professional when handling media inquiries,” Sunni said. “I empathize with reporters and want to help them in any way I can.”
Strong support from her professors and friends at Emory & Henry led her to professional and personal success.
“E&H taught me a lot about the type of person that I wanted to be. So many aspects of campus life promote diversity and empathy for important social issues. I carry that exposure with me every day,” she said.