UCF alumna and 30 Under 30 honoree, Sarah Kelliher, has been promoted to Senior Public Relations Strategist at Curley & Pynn Public Relations. Kelliher, who is approaching five years with the firm, graduated from the UCF College of Business in 2019 after earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in journalism. In an interview, Kelliher describes what surprised her about the new role, her biggest challenges, and advice that she would give to students who want to follow in her footsteps. 

What is your position at Curley & Pynn? And what did you get promoted to?  

“I was promoted from a Public Relations Strategist to a Senior Public Relations Strategist at Curley & Pynn. My new role focuses not only on excellent client service and delivery but also on special projects aimed at optimizing operational efficiency for our firm. As part of my promotion, I also now manage our firm’s internship program, where I get to meet and work with some very talented UCF Knights!” 

What surprised you about the role that you didn’t know when you first started in it? 

“Something that surprised me about my new role – and particularly managing our internship program – is how smart the future leaders of our industry are. I have spoken to or worked with students who have blown me away with their professionalism, experience and overall attitude. Those conversations always leave me excited about where our industry is going and a bit jealous that I was not thinking like these students when I was in my early 20s!” 

What was different from what you had expected? 

“I was expecting it, but an adjustment I have had to make in my new role is finding time to focus on the “business of our business” and not just our clients. Learning more about how our firm operates has been exciting and it allows me to see the bigger picture of why we do what we do.” 

How did you feel UCF prepared you for your new role?

“I would have never learned about Curley & Pynn without UCF. My first introduction to the firm was through an internship I had with Limbitless Solutions, a non-profit research organization at UCF dedicated to empowering individuals through personalized, creative and expressive bionics. 

During my internship, I was fortunate to learn from Curley & Pynn team members who provided pro-bono mentorship to Limbitless Solutions’ public relations student interns.

That entire internship experience was a turning point for me, as it not only deepened my understanding of our industry but also validated my passion and belief in my own potential. Now, I manage our Limbitless Solutions account at Curley & Pynn and get to return the favor to public relations students hoping to follow a similar path.” 

What are the biggest challenges you face and why? And what are your favorite things about your job?

“As one of our firm’s senior leaders, I owe it to our clients and team members to commit to candor and tell them what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear. This means some tough conversations and, as a people pleaser, it can be hard for me.  

One of my favorite things about my job is the fact that our firm has such a small (yet mighty!) team that truly feels like a community. I never feel like I am just another employee − our team is invested in my success, both personally and professionally. With such a diverse client roster, I also get to learn about so many different subjects I never knew about. Not only does that allow me to expand my expertise, but it also leads to a more enriching and fulfilling life experience.” 

What advice would you give to students who want to follow in your footsteps?

“One of my favorite quotes has always been, “She was unstoppable, not because she did not have failures or doubts, but because she continued on despite them.” Successful people are determined and persevere and that is what separates them from everyone else. Use the gifts you have been given, enjoy the ride, and remember that no matter what happens, it is always easier to deal with whatever life may throw at you if you keep a positive attitude.” 


By Majdulina Hamed.

Published to Nicholson News on May 7th, 2024.

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