From #MasonCOMM to London Boutique PR Agency

2017 alumni says Mason comm helped grow love for PR

by Gabby Vargas

From graduating with a bachelor’s from Mason to moving across the world to pursue higher education and a career in PR, Sasha is an inspiration for all Mason students to do what they love.

Now, as a senior account executive at the award-winning boutique agency, Faust PR in London, she gets to incorporate her passion for beauty and travel into her everyday work.

Sasha Cummings-Kline

At 15 years old, Sasha began volunteering as an ESOL assistant teacher, teaching English skills for adult day laborers. Throughout school, she worked part-time at her mother’s hair stylist academy, where she cut hair after obtaining her cosmetology license.

Sasha and the team at Faust helped achieve their clients four wins at the 40th annual WhatHouse? Awards.On one of her many trips visiting family in Ireland, Sasha Cummings-Kline became fascinated by a single advertisement she saw at Dublin Airport. A flight experience ad by Virgin Airlines caught her eye with the glamorous outfits of the flight attendants, the color scheme, and overall presentation of their brand.

Growing up in the generation of social media, this sparked her interest in the world of influencers and marketing. Her early work ethic combined with a communication degree from Mason and a master’s in marketing from the University of Belfast, gave her the foundation for her current position.

The Job of a PR Senior Account Executive

Faust is a UK boutique PR and events agency. Sasha is in charge of both traditional and new media for clients in the property, interiors, retail and travel industries. Sending out pitches to specialty journalists, writing press releases, drafting client blogs, and creating influencer social media campaigns are just parts of her day-to-day tasks.

“I do my best to tackle ‘hard’ things first… Time management is critical when you work in an agency because there can be lots of different things flying around at once, so I find being vocal to be the best way to accomplish this.”

Proving she could handle and be trusted with more responsibility; Sasha worked her way up from junior to senior account executive. “With her insistent curiosity and impressive work ethic, it's no wonder she is a rising star in London PR," said Suzanne Mims, one of Sasha’s former communication professors at Mason. 

Having worked at Tote Media and Ulection as their social media intern, Sasha earned real on-the-job practice with the tasks that she currently takes on at her “big girl” job. Sasha emphasizes for Mason students to have transferable skills that you can take from any experience and apply them to the job you want. When asked if having an internship is crucial for college students, Sasha had a great response.

“Any MasonCOMM student that wants an internship or to work in the field is fully prepared. Don’t ever think that you aren’t ready, the foundation that Mason’s communication program makes you tailor-made to walk in wherever.”

Through her communication courses at Mason and internships, she felt ready to face professional challenges.

Mason Experience

The Advanced Public Relations course allowed Sasha to work on GMU’s 2016 School Environmental Action Showcase. It was a memorable experience for her.

“It really prepared me for my job now in putting on big events with lots of moving parts and promotions. It prepared me for the stress and the way you have to collaborate with people on your team, strangers, and getting press to your events. I think about it every time we do an event at Faust.”

Another class Sasha remembers fondly is Professor Suzanne Mims’ PR & Social Media course where she created a Social Media for Social Good campaign called #TheresNoExcuse. The pilot campaign aimed to create conversation and safe open dialogue about sexual assault on campus grounds. “This course laid a really good groundwork for what I do now,” said Sasha.

sashaShe even had the chance to take part in the 2017 Global PR Study Abroad program in London with Professor Mims, a two-week trip during her senior year that opened her eyes to the possibilities of the future.

“On the London program, I recall vividly when "my career pathway" flashed in front of Sasha's eyes. At the Edelman agency visit, she decided right then to follow the example of their account executive and pursue grad school in Dublin in marketing and return to London to work,” Mims said. Now it has happened! It is so gratifying to see how our London program contributed to her path and success.”

Advice for Students

Like many others, she was initially intimidated by “networking” until she attended GMU’s Annual Communication Forum. The forum which brings together students, professionals, and recent graduates.

“Networking is key,” said Sasha. “To have that casual conversation about what that experience is [like], how to make the next step to start your career, that was useful in helping me formulate and think about what I was going to do next after college.”

Sasha has always considered herself a “consumer” with a drive to understand why people were attracted to products, how brands create loyalty, and the power of influencers. For her, MasonCOMM provided the opportunities and pathways to find her calling, to grow, and develop into the media and influencer relations expert she is today.

“If you think you might want to be part of PRSSA, just try a meeting. Go by yourself or convince a friend to go with you.” said Sasha. “There’s a huge spectrum of academic and social things to do at Mason…take your time, four years is a long time.”

George Mason’s department of communication was recently named to the PRNews Education A-List, a roster of the top 35 educational institutions advancing the careers of PR and communication professionals in the U.S.  Mason communication majors can choose to concentrate in public relations, journalism, media production and criticism, political communication, organizational or interpersonal communication as well as minor in other cross-department subjects. The department provides students with a blend of theory, research, and hands-on experiential learning to prepare them for the wide variety of careers in professional communication.