Stories and Articles

PR Professional Savors Success

Red Coral Public Relations founder Lorena Whiteside

When Lorena Whiteside, owner of Red Coral Public Relations earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from San Diego State in 1999, she did not go out and start her own company. She did not plan on being an entrepreneur. In fact, she didn’t even have “public relations (PR) specifically on my radar at that time, since I planned to focus more on overall product planning/strategy when I graduated.”

Like so many San Diego residents, Whiteside, a native of Turlock, Calif., chose to move to San Diego and attend college there “because San Diego’s a beautiful place and the weather is amazing almost year round,” she said. “I selected San Diego State over other schools in the area because it has a great business program.”

High Tech Start

When she earned her B.S., she was off to a good career start with an offer of a full-time position at the start-up Internet technology company where she worked as an intern during her student days at SDSU. She also re-enrolled at SDSU’s College of Business Administration and she earned her MBA in 2002.

Eventually, she ended up pursuing the career she thought she wanted while she was a student when she landed a position as a product manager with data analytics company, Data Quick. But the allure of running her own company and exercising her creative instincts became too much and she left Data Quick to start an event planning company.

"I selected San Diego State over other schools in the area because it has a great business program."

Expansion Comes Early On

Whiteside’s new company, Red Coral Events, was off to a fast start when she landed her first client soon after founding her company. The client was a local restaurant that wanted assistance in planning their grand opening events. “Since a successful restaurant launch involves far more than just a grand opening, I ended up developing and executing a comprehensive PR and marketing campaign for the client,” she recalled. “That campaign produced incredible results for them.” It also prompted Whiteside to expand her offerings and change her company’s name to Red Coral Public Relations.

Since then, she has worked with several well-known restaurants in the San Diego area including Extraordinary Desserts, Harney Sushi and Saffron. Additionally, Whiteside has also been the executive producer and creative force behind the show Savor San Diego for KPBS-TV, which features Saffron’s owner and chef Su-Mei Yu. The show, which explores cuisine in and around the San Diego area, recently completed its third season.

"The media is inundated with PR pitches and it is more critical than ever that PR professionals craft truly relevant and compelling stories that target the right people and outlets."

The Future of PR

While television is not considered a new medium, Whiteside, like many others in the field of PR, have noticed that social media has raised the stakes for PR professionals. “It has become considerably more competitive and difficult to get your story told, even though companies are finding it increasingly more important to reach their customer base,” she explained. “The media is inundated with PR pitches and it is more critical than ever that PR professionals craft truly relevant and compelling stories that target the right people and outlets.”

Of course, PR success in all media is a win not just for Whiteside, but mostly for her clients. “As an entrepreneur, you never have days off and you never clock out because you must be constantly working and available to your clients,” she noted. “Not because they expect it, but because your business is a direct reflection of you and you want it represented at its best at all times.”