Executive Director, Publicity and Communications, Global Brands and Experiences
Recognized as a leader in the public relations industry, Shawn Smith has served in senior communications roles with Warner Bros. Entertainment and The Walt Disney Company developing multimillion-dollar campaigns for global brands. She is currently the Executive Director of Publicity and Communications, Global Brands and Experiences at Warner Media, developing strategic communications campaigns for products inspired by DC franchises including Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman, in addition to creating global PR campaigns for properties within the Warner Bros. Animation and Horror portfolio.
Previously, Shawn was the Director of Public Relations and Brand Partnerships with MGA Entertainment, leading corporate communications and PR for one of the most successful privately-owned toy companies in the world. She created PR campaigns for hit brands including L.O.L. Surprise!, Num Noms, and Little Tikes. Under her leadership, L.O.L. Surprise! became a media sensation and was touted as the #1 toy of 2017.
In 2016, Shawn became the first Senior Manager of Communications, Diversity and Inclusion for The Walt Disney Company, responsible for championing Disney’s commitment to diversity through a variety of communications channels to engage employees and the global community. Previously, in her role as a Senior Manager of Communications with Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI), she developed and executed strategic communications campaigns for DCPI’s $52+ billion licensing business while leading the public relations campaigns for global brands, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, as well as Disney films and media networks.
Shawn led a multi-year PR campaign to position Minnie Mouse as a global style icon and expand the franchise’s presence around the world. In 2010, Shawn led the PR campaign to launch Disney Store’s innovative store re-design and the launch of the first Disney Store in New York’s Times Square which featured Disney CEO Bob Iger and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as keynote speakers. She also managed key TV and film franchise product launches.
Shawn began her career as a journalist before transitioning into public relations and she spent more than six years working at premier PR agencies. In her first PR role, Shawn worked under legendary publicist Pat Tobin at Tobin & Associates. She developed multicultural PR campaigns at Lagrant Communications and was a senior account executive in the film and television division of global public relations agency Rogers & Cowan. During her agency tenure, Shawn represented a broad array of clients including Southern California Edison, Wells Fargo Bank, Texas Instruments, and Toyota Motor Sales.
In 2019, Shawn became the first-ever African American president of the Public Relations Society of America Los Angeles Chapter, while continuing to serve as the president of the Black Public Relations Society of Los Angeles (BPRS-LA). In 2018, Shawn was presented with the Pat Tobin Award, BPRS-LA’s highest honor. In 2011, Shawn was named one of PR Week’s “40 under 40 Ones to Watch.” Shawn serves as a mentor to young professionals and has served as a guest lecturer for a variety of college courses.
A native of Southern California, Shawn earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).