Vocational exam launched PR career
By Bob Arnold
In junior high school at Wesson Attendance Center in the 1990s, a computerized vocational exam set Jessica Breazeale on the career path she has pursued since. Based on her answers to questions, it concluded she would be best suited for work in public relations.
More than two decades later, Breazeale operates Jessica Breaseale Consulting (JBC), her own public relations organization based in Wesson with clients throughout the nation. Earlier this year, The Public Relations Association of Mississippi honored JBC's work with an Award of Excellence for "setting a new standard of excellence" among statewide organizations engaged in communications, public relations, marketing and media activities. In 2020, Breazeale was also the sole Mississippi public relations practitioner to receive the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) conferred by the Public Relations Society of America to certify exceptional professionals who complete a special project and successfully pass a rigorous examination.
"I love what I do, and have never strayed from the career path that Wesson Attendance Center helped me identify," Breazeale says.
The Wesson native says she loved growing up in a small town "where you can walk around freely and drive four-wheelers." She helped her family operate their local business -- the Wesson truck stop off the Interstate 55 exit -- learned dance and assisted other would-be dancers at Nena Smith Studios and enjoyed swimming in the local pool.
Breazeale graduated from Wesson High School in 2000, where she was Homecoming Queen, and received an Associate's Degree in general studies at Co-Lin in 2003, where she was Miss Co-Lin, Colettes captain, a show choir member, Trailblazer and Diamond Doll. In 2006, she received her BS in public relations and theater from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). She received her Master's Degree in public relations from Northern Alabama in 2009, where she also met her husband, Ricky, an aspiring pastor.
During her college years, Breazeale had a gig as a performer for Disney Cruise Line at Fort Canaveral, Florida, as singer, dancer and actress. At USM, she also got a taste of public relations work as an area recruiter in northern Mississippi and northern Alabama. Her "first real pr job," she relates, was in tobacco education for the Alabama Department of Health's Tobacco Free Alabama program.
Breazeale returned with her husband from the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Wesson to be near her parents ("my step father was seriously ill") after recruiting for USM's College of Business and College of Science and Technology in 2012-2013 and serving as an American Heart Association Heart Walk Director in 2013. She started building the freelance business that grew into JBC while working as public relations and marketing director at Brookhaven-based Reeds Metals from 2014-2017 and public affairs manager at Georgia Pacific at Monticello in 2018-2019.
"It has been a weird time to start my own consulting firm in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemeic, but it's working," says Breazeale. JBC has ten to twelve clients that it serves on an ongoing basis, and several others it helps part-time in the digital marketing and advertising and public relations services it offers across the U.S. Among its clients are Thermaguard Industries in Zachery, Louisiana, Protec in Kentucky and Brookhaven-based Tree Extractors, Rushing Metals and Martin's Construction.
Breazeale and her husband have one son, Walker, 9, in the fourth grade at Wesson Attendance Center, who enjoys playing baseball.
What are your hobbies? I enjoy swimming. I like to travel -- to New York City and places I have never been, and on cruises. I am also active in community organizations -- Lincoln County Rotary, Wesson Chamber of Commerce, The Public Relations Association of Mississippi..
Are you a reader? I read Christian and spiritual literature. I am currently reading Joyce Myer's Unshakable Trust.
Do you enjoy movies or theater? I would rather be in them than watch them. As a child, I dreamed of performing on Broadway. I enjoy the Netflix show, The 100. My favorite movie is Gone with the Wind.
What kind of music do you like? I am into modern worship and Christian contemporary music. I also am a dancer. I was captain of the Colettes at Co-Lin and the Dixie Darlins' at Southern Mississippi. I danced with Disney Cruise Line and in theater shows.
What would you do with lottery winnings if you were so lucky? I don't play the lottery, but if I did, any winnings would be tithed to the church. Then I would pay my bills and spend them on travel.
How would you change the world? I would promote peace with one another!