(Florida Institute of Technology)
The D.C. Public Affairs Officer | 30 Under 30 Class of 2019
"I love what I do because we help make a difference in people's lives."
As a public affairs coordinator for the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), Rebekah’s day is often dictated by what is happening in Washington, D.C., and across America. Rebekah’s main responsibilities are digital and external communications for the Agency. She runs their social media accounts and creates digital designs that help get information to the right people at the right time so decisions can be made. Surprisingly, Rebekah never expected to be in this role. She wanted to be a forensicpsychologist but discovered her passion for this career path after becoming her chapter’s public relations vice president. “If you would have told me five years ago that I’d be working for HSEMA, I probably would have laughed!”
Did you ever imagine you would work for Homeland Security?
If you would have told me five years ago that I’d be living in Washington, D.C., and working for the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), I probably would have laughed! Going into college, I thought I wanted to be a forensic psychologist.
What is your exact title?
Public Affairs Coordinator
What does a normal day at work look like?
My favorite part about my job is the fact that every day is different! What I do each day is largely dictated by what is happening in Washington, D.C., the region and the country. I’m mainly responsible for digital and external communications for the Agency. I run HSEMA’s social media accounts and create social campaigns and digital designs that help get the right information to the right people at the right time so they can make the right decisions.
Why do you love what you do?
I love what I do because we help make a difference in people’s lives. A lot of times, the messaging I am pushing out on HSEMA’s social media channels revolves around proactive measures District residents, businesses and visitors can be taking to better prepare themselves and their loved ones for an emergency.
How did you discover your passion for your job?
Gamma Phi Beta is a huge part of the reason I discovered my passion for my job. During my time in Delta Sigma Chapter (Florida Institute of Technology), I was given reigns to our social media accounts from a graduating senior. I wasn’t sure why I was the best person for it, but she trusted me with it so I didn’t plan on letting her down! From there, I was nominated and elected for public relations vice president and that is where I truly discovered my passion for communications and public relations. One day during my fall semester of junior year, I had a realization – I was in the wrong career field. I enjoyed my courses and the things I was learning about from my forensic psychology program, but what I really loved and what I really wanted to do was work in PR and communications.
How do you define success?
Success to me is a verb, it’s ongoing. It’s about working hard to accomplish goals and then setting new ones. It’s about constant growth and improvement. Ultimately, it’s being happy with who I am, the work that I am doing and the way it all impacts those around me.
Where did you grow up?
Brigatine, New Jersey.
Who is your role model?
Where do you live now?
What are four things you can't live without?
My family, cell phone, coffee and music.
What motivates you?
Making my family and myself proud of what I have accomplished. I have always been a big dreamer and I tend to set high goals and expectations as a way to challenge myself. It’s not always an easy journey towards the end goal and when it gets difficult, I tend to be hard myself. I write things down to keep track of my goals, progress and achievements as a reminder of my journey. On the days when I need motivation, I have my planner and memories to remind myself of what I’ve accomplished so far and keep me charged up enough to continue working toward my goal.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I also have a great boss who is encouraging and creative, and lets me run with some non-traditional ideas. Because we are a government Agency, there is, of course, a limit as to how creative and fun we can get with our content and what we do. I love that when I’m able to come up with a fun and creative idea (that is still relevant and appropriate), even though others may not have tried it yet in the homeland security realm, my boss lets me run with them and see them through! Not everyone has a boss as supportive as mine, so I’m thankful for that because it helps make my job more fun!
Can you explain what Friends of Children of Brevard is and the work you do with them?
Friends of Children of Brevard is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps support children who have been removed from their home due to abandonment, abuse and/or neglect. The program helps provide children with items not provided to them by government agencies and works to provide these children with access to normal childhood activities. As a nonprofit, we fund clothing, beds, bikes, computers, school supplies, holiday gifts, summer camps, etc. because these children do not ask for a life of abuse or neglect. We are a group of unpaid individuals who serve on the board and fundraise for these children because we believe it’s important to preserve their innocence and provide them with normalcy. From 2015-17, I served on the board of directors, as the youngest member, and also served on the Marketing and Public Relations Committee. I helped the nonprofit establish social media accounts in order to create a better name for ourselves in the community and assist in the organization and planning of our fundraisers and black-tie events. In 2018, I moved to Washington, D.C., for my job at HSEMA but I continue to remotely serve on the Marketing and Public Relations Committee because I truly believe in what this organization does and stands for.
Early Bird or Night Owl
Left Brain or Right Brain
Facebook or Instagram
Heels or Flats
iPhone or Android