Meet Stephanie Shirley
Stephanie (Bennis) Shirley is the Founder and CEO of Bennis Public Relations, Inc. A graduate of Penn State University, Stephanie holds degrees in Public Relations & Advertising and Communications, Arts & Science. Together, these degrees have adequately prepared her for a career in communications, but there is no degree that could have prepared Stephanie for the unpaved path of an entrepreneur. Stephanie’s journey toward business ownership is a true reminder that often we do not choose the path, the path chooses us.
Stephanie’s past and present positions have provided her with experience in many different fields of Public Relations, including corporate and non-profit communications, government relations, political campaigns, media relations, event planning and creative writing. This diverse portfolio of experience allows her to blend and pull from many different skill sets to meet a broad range of communication needs which she encounters frequently with her PR Firm.
While in college, Stephanie worked three years as the Public Relations intern within Penn State’s Department of Architectural Engineering and with the university’s Center for Sustainability. To satisfy Stephanie’s interest in the political world, she also took on an internship with Penn State’s Office of Government Affairs.
Graduating college a semester early in December of 2009, Stephanie immediately began a full time position with the Tom Corbett for Governor Campaign headquartered where she served as the Coalitions Coordinator. With the campaign’s victory in November of 2010, Stephanie moved into the role of assisting in the event planning and execution of the Governor’s Inaugural Ball of which more than 6,000 people attended. In February of 2011, Stephanie continued her career within Governor Corbett’s Administration, working in the Department of Health, Office of Legislative Affairs. Shortly after joining the Administration, Stephanie’s part-time Public Relations business began to take off, which forced her to make the decision to either stay with the Department or take an entrepreneurial leap and make Bennis Inc her full time focus. Understanding both the risks and rewards of this decision, Stephanie, with the encouragement of the Administration, chose to resign from her position and become the CEO of Bennis Public Relations, Inc in July of 2011.
Bennis Public Relations, Inc offers individualized and high-quality communication services at competitive and flexible rates. Clients include businesses of various sizes and industries, best-selling authors, artists, politicians, non-profit organizations and fellow entrepreneurs. Bennis Inc has maintained consistent growth, tripling its monthly clients in the first 9 months of full time business. Most importantly, Stephanie is committed to providing each client with professional, creative and common-sense solutions and regards her business’s reputation as one of its most critical points of differentiation.
Stephanie’s most obvious, but most outstanding record of leadership is her entrepreneurial spirit and her inherent business sense. These are the qualities that first guided her toward starting her own business. But even more difficult than the initial starting of Bennis Inc, Stephanie’s leadership helped her to smoothly transition this side business into her full time passion. Now as the CEO of Bennis Inc, Stephanie’s leadership impacts more than just her and her business. For most of her clients, Stephanie has become the Public Relations Director and General Manager, helping them to identify their business goals, communicate them clearly and effectively and stay on-mission to achieving them. It is Stephanie’s youth that provides her with a fresh perspective, her experience that makes her competitive with professionals twice her age and her leadership that allows her to guide not only her own business, but the businesses of her clients.
As a twenty-one year old college student, Stephanie began what she saw as a fulfilling means of additional income. Never did she imagine that her Public Relations side-business would turn her into a full time entrepreneur at such a young age. Once committing herself fully to growing this business, Stephanie has consistently doubled her clientele every year for the past three years. She has worked with 30 businesses in cities as close as Harrisburg and as far as Atlanta. Stephanie’s vision for Bennis Inc is to continue its path of steady growth and to provide people with a better understanding of the value an organized and strategic communications strategy can add to a business.