Five Questions with SMS Account Director Jen Le


Jen Le, an Account Director at Schwartz Media Strategies, brings a depth of experience and creativity to her role – and has managed high-profile clients across commercial and residential real estate, professional services, and hospitality. With her keen attention to detail, and exceptional storytelling skills, Jen seamlessly blends these qualities to produce effective strategies and high-impact results for clients.

In this Q&A, Jen shares her personal journey, insights on working with diverse clients, and her approach to maintaining a work/life balance in a demanding industry.

Tell us about your background and how your early experiences (like going to University of Florida) influenced your interest in communications and public relations.

I was born in Canada , but my family to San Jose, CA, shortly thereafter. This is where I spent my early years. My dad was a computer engineer during the dot-com boom and immersed me in that space. I was very much a tomboy. After, when my family moved to Naples, FL, I leaned more toward fashion and the arts. The Devil Wears Prada is one of my favorite movies, and while many would balk at the idea of working for a Miranda Priestly, I could not be more obsessed with being Andrea and proving myself.

While I did explore that field, even going to New York City for a fashion internship, I ultimately landed on PR, which proved to be a happy medium that had a glamorous side to it and allowed me to flex my creativity while still being involved in business, real estate, finance, law, etc.

I love creative writing, so when I was working toward my bachelor’s degree at UF, I gravitated toward the journalism and communications program. There, I learned the basics of PR and what the overall mission of the industry is. Right after graduating, I accepted an internship in Miami and the rest is history.

What is your favorite part of working at a firm with such a diverse client mix? And how does it enhance your approach to PR?

As we always say, the best publicists are actually of counsel to clients. This means strategizing with clients not only on the topic at hand, but also providing input on market outlooks and strategic positioning for their business. Having a diverse client mix ensures that you have a hand and a little bit of knowledge about everything. No matter what room you walk into, you can talk to anyone about anything. There’s so much crossover. What I learn in law can be applied to real estate and hospitality and vice versa.

With that in mind, what advice would you give someone who is interested in pursuing a career in PR/communications?

Wire your brain to learn at all times, especially when you’re first starting out. Be open to receiving feedback and study those with more experience than you. This will set yourself up for success, as there have already been many times in my career where I’ve been given an account on a subject matter I know nothing about and had to learn on the go.

While UF was definitely a worthwhile experience and I’d recommend it to anyone, I didn’t exactly learn about PR until I started my first job in Miami. It’s definitely a profession where you learn on the job and requires you to remain nimble. It requires you to be a jack of all trades, from using psychology to better understand others and their motivations to having a hand in everything from media relations to marketing, brand building, social media and beyond. If you’re good at multitasking, you’d probably excel at PR.

How has Miami evolved since when you first started in PR?

Originally, I always wanted to move to New York City and live the Big Apple life. It was always a dream that kind of got away from me. Now, Miami has evolved into an international hub of its own that rivals other word-class cities. It could not be more exciting to be in the communications industry here as there’s always something happening, whether it be a new development, deal or restaurant. This wasn’t the case when I first started.

You also work with high-profile clients and the nature of what we do can be demanding at times. How do you manage work/life balance?

I think the ability to handle everything comes with age. I remember first starting out and finding it stressful to manage it all. Now, I know what my priorities are and how to get things done in a timely manner, in addition to learning the beauty of delegating. It’s a skill that you hone in on over time.