Shawn TurnerSHAWN SMITH is currently senior manager of communications, leading external communications for Disney Consumer Products’ (DCP) licensing business, which is aligned around five strategic brand priorities: Disney Media, Classics & Entertainment, Disney & Pixar Animation Studios, Disney Princess & Disney Fairies, Lucasfilm and Marvel. In addition, Shawn develops integrated public relations campaigns for DCP’s classic portfolio which includes global brands Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Winnie the Pooh.

Previously, Shawn was responsible for corporate communications and public relations for Disney Store North America, the retail division of Disney Consumer Products. Representing more than 220 retail locations across North America, Shawn led the campaign to launch Disney Store’s innovative store design and the opening of the first Disney Store in Times Square which featured Disney CEO Bob Iger and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as keynote speakers. When Shawn joined Disney in 2008, she led PR campaigns to launch a wide array of toys, stationery, food, health and beauty products. She also managed key film franchise product launches including Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, which became one of the top merchandising programs of 2009.

Shawn began her career as a journalist before transitioning into public relations and spent more than six years working at premier PR agencies. In her first PR role, Shawn worked under legendary publicist Pat Tobin at boutique agency Tobin & Associates. She went on to work for multi-cultural integrated marketing firm Lagrant Communications and later served as a senior account executive with global public relations agency Rogers & Cowan. During that time Shawn represented a broad array of clients including Southern California Edison, Wells Fargo Bank, Texas Instruments, and Toyota.

In 2011 Shawn was named one of PR Week’s “40 under 40–Ones to Watch,” and in 2013 she led the re-launch of the Black Public Relations Society Los Angeles chapter (BPRS-LA), and currently serves as president. BPRS-LA is an affiliate chapter of National Black Public Relations Society, focused on increasing access and opportunities for African American PR practitioners, while fostering diversity throughout the communications industry.

A native of Southern California, Shawn earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and previously served as the director of marketing and communications for the UCLA Black Alumni Association.