Inna Shamis



Monmouth University - Communications: TV, Radio, Journalism + Public Relations

A life in public relations, especially as president and CEO of a company, sounds wonderful, right? Inna Shamis, a communications specialist with more than 15 years in the pr, marketing communications and client management business, has an even sweeter deal. Why? She has had the opportunity to work with some of the world's most-recognized brands including Vogue, Elle Décor, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salon & Spa, CBS, Planet Hollywood, Hilton Hotels, Splenda/Johnson & Johnson, Danskin, Sprint PCS, Cadbury Adams/Cadbury Schweppes, Crunch Fitness and more. On top of that her skills also have aided the rising celebrity of TV personalities like David Good (of ABC’s  “The Bachelorette”  and “Bachelor Pad”), Jesse Csincsak (professional snowboarder and winner of “The Bachelorette”), Darryl “DR Mixologist” Robinson (of Cooking Channel’s “Drink Up”) and Jennifer Tuma Young.

Her experience spans all media channels including broadcast, print and interactive. With a career that began in the mid-90s, Inna’s  widespread  background spans a number of industries, which include: entertainment, consumer and professional products and services, fashion and beauty, food and beverage, eco-friendly and organic, health care and fitness, travel and hospitality, media and hi-tech. She also maintains extensive global contacts in the media and entertainment, consumer, beauty and wellness, travel and hospitality, and lifestyle sectors. In 2005, Inna founded AvantGarde Communications Group, following a formative career on the agency and corporate side of public relations, marketing and communications. Aside from work Inna enjoys spending time with her friends and family and traveling.

Never make a promise you can't keep.

How did you discover your current job?

I founded my company after nearly 10 formative years in corporate America.

What has been your path so far to get you where you are today?

After graduating with a degree in communications (TV/Radio and Journalism/PR), I spent nearly 10 years working in corporate America (in both PR and marketing). I was fortunate in having had the chance to work in a number of industries, including: consumer products and professional services, food and beverage, travel and hospitality, healthcare and fitness, entertainment and more; and with brands like Sprint PCS, Vogue, Hilton, Johnson & Johnson, Cendant, Cadbury Adams and Crunch Fitness. Having always had an entrepreneurial spirit, I knew eventually I would end up working for myself. I did just that six years ago when I launched AvantGarde Communications Group.

Was there any one situation that helped you along your way?

My very first internship in the PR industry set an example of where my future may be.

What is your typical day like? Does it ever change?

There is nothing 'typical' about the PR/marketing industry. Every day brings something different, which is what is most interesting about what I do.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Relationship building, making connections and seeing clients happy.

What is the most challenging part?

Never knowing what the day will bring.

What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?

As a publicist, I'm always on call. There is no such thing as a day off.

What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?

Never make a promise you can't keep. Under promise, but over deliver -- that's what I stick with!

What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?

Balancing our professional and personal lives. And that goes for all women, in all industries.

Who are your role models?

I have two fantastic role models. First and foremost, my mother and then my industry mentor, Karen Arena. Both of these women ignited my entrepreneurial spirit and taught me some of the most important lessons: pursue your passion, you can do anything you put your mind to, never give in to fear, and if one door closes -- a better one opens.

Is there a quote or mantra that you live by?

"Lead, follow, or get out of the way."

What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?

Work hard, network with those whom you admire, be passionate and be resilient. And always remember: "There are no mistakes, only lessons. Love yourself, trust your choices, and everything is possible." -Cherie Carter-Scott

Is there anything else you would like to add?

As John Maxwell said, "The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one." Which inspires me each and every day to follow my instincts, forge ahead, take risks, and never regret the choices I make.