FAMU grad Christie making waves in public relations, wins trade award
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Ask just about any success professional what’s glamorous about what they do and it almost always comes down to notoriety.
For Jalen Christie it’s about what he could do to help draw attention to someone, their product or something as simple as a community cause. He calls it his fuel in the highly competitive world of public relations.
“The majority of clients that come to me are in need of assistance,” said Christie. “They are not able to do public relations on their own. For some clients public relations could be somewhat intimidating and I like being a service to those clients and helping them conquer their goals and go after their dreams.”
Christie, a Tallahassee native and FAMU grad, has been so efficient at his job with the Orlando marketing agency Moxe that he recently received the Orlando Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award. He was one of 40 young executives who are also engaged in communities as volunteers.
“I was ecstatic,” is how Christie reacted to being among the award winners. “I think for most people 2020 has been a very challenging year and to have won that accolade definitely was a bright spot for me this year. I was really, really happy to be chosen.”
Christie is the second Moxe employee to receive the award in the last two years. He was nominated by his office manager, Jennifer Griffin, in a field of about 200.
“He is one of the most selfless persons I’ve ever met and I’ve known him for a few years now,” Griffin said. “He is a person who strives to do his best at anything that he does.”
That innate sense of doing for client first and his community engagement are two of the main reasons that Griffin said she nominated Christie, 33.
“He is always willing to go above and beyond to make sure he is doing what the client wants,” she said. “He never wants to pressure a client into something that they don’t want to do. He is forever looking for opportunities for the client that he works with. He does everything he can to promote whenever client he is working on.”
Right after graduating from FAMU in 2009, Christie’s path had been filled with multiple turns from what seemed like an obvious career in print journalism. He was managing editor of the Famuan newspaper and was heavily involved in magazine production as a student.
Finding work as a print journalist became challenging as newspapers began to cut jobs at the about the time he was leaving FAMU. He freelanced briefly with the Outlook, while holding down a part-time job with the Department of Law Enforcement.
Fulltime work in broadcast news might have been a good option, since Christie had heard repeatedly he would be a natural. He didn’t find it appealing, though.
“I was not enticed by it at all,” he said. “I like writing. I think that’s my God-given talent. I like interacting with people. It (broadcast) just didn’t appeal to me.”
He decided to take his chances on finding a job in Orlando, enduring a month of unemployment before being hired for his first public relations job with the Salvation Army.
Doors began to open during the four years he would spend with the Salvation Army. He was recruited by the Orlando chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Later he found himself on the board of the Orange County Library Systems and also working on Mayor Jerry Demings’ Martin Luther King Initiative.
By 2018, he was hired by Moxe, where he is now director of public relations. It’s a tall order, considering that the company promotes itself as being one that focuses on “Bold Ideas. A Savvy Approach. Unexpected Results.”
He credits FAMU for preparing him and counts Yanela McLeod, a former journalism professor, as being one of the people who mentored him.
“Jay is one of the most creative students that I’ve ever gotten the privilege to meet,” said McLeod, who is now director of communication for the office of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. “He’s extremely talented and I think ahead of his time. He has such a vibrancy, such an energy and an extreme gift of writing and communication that it makes sense that he would be successful in the public relations world.
“We have not seen the best of Jay Christie yet. He just needs the opportunity for the world to see his creative gift.”