Getting to Know The Board: Amy Shanler, Vice President of Bell Ringer Awards

Where do you work and what is your title?

Amy Shanler, associate professor and PRLab co-director, Boston University College of Communication

What is your Twitter handle?


Briefly summarize your background. What kind of industry/clients do you work with?

I’ve been working in public relations for 25 years managing communications activities for multiple organizations and industries, including retail, technology, business, health care, and entertainment. Today, I co-direct the award-winning PRLab, the nation’s longest-running, student-led public relations agency, and I teach courses on principles of public relations, crisis communications, and media relations. Before I came to BU full time in 2013, I was director of public and media relations for Royal Philips in North America, and earlier, PR director for Staples. At the beginning of my career, I worked in high-tech public relations for Cognos (now part of IBM) and LP&P (now FleishmanHillard), and before that, a healthcare conference company. 

Describe what you do for PR Club.

As VP of awards, I oversee and coordinate the Bell Ringer Awards committee and process. Our committee works together to recruit judges, set categories, manage the call for entries, oversee the judging process, produce awards and trophies, and plan the awards gala. This is a huge undertaking, and I am thrilled to work with so many talented professionals as part of this process. My specialty, though, is managing the awards platform that accepts the award entries and allows the judges to participate remotely.

Name your top three favorite things about PR.

  1. People. I love seeing the impact of my work on stakeholders, both inside and outside an organization. It’s so rewarding to be able to make people (mostly) happy.
  2. Knowledge. Given how far reaching our function is within an organization, and how far in advance we work, it’s powerful to know so much about an organization or client. 
  3. Spreadsheets. Seriously, keeping organized is really important and whether it’s a project plan or a budget, I love a good spreadsheet.

Do you have a childhood moment when everyone knew you’d be a communications specialist?

In high school, my good friends called me “PR.” Any time we needed to talk to an adult in public – a host at a restaurant or someone selling tickets to the movies – I was always the one comfortable talking to strangers. Funny enough, I never really knew what PR was, but it sounded cool and important, so I went with it. In college, I studied psychology, convinced I would work in organizational behavior. When I found out I had some extra credits, I realized I could earn a second degree at BU. The other program I could complete in the same four years was communication. And it was my first class in public relations where I finally felt everything come together. I still leverage lessons learned in psychology, but I truly am “PR.”

What is your top getaway destination?

My Kindle. Seriously. I can get away – anywhere in the world… anywhere in time… anywhere in the galaxy. I love reading because there are no limits. And when I do take an actual getaway, my Kindle comes with me.

If you could take a client to any restaurant in Boston where would you go?

This is funny because I live in the suburbs and tend to rely on my Boston-based friends to choose restaurants. I’d probably pick something with easy parking like Chickadee. Amazing cocktails, delicious food, laid-back atmosphere, and yes, plenty of free parking.

Go to Dunks order?

I have been caffeine-free for a year and a half now, so I don’t have an order anymore. I’ll almost always have a water bottle with me. Ug, so boring. But here’s a cute picture of my cat, Spartacus, and dog, Dexter.