By Brit E. Stack
Jay Sheridan (BA 01) was one of those “very-involved” students during his time at Ole Miss. Although he was in a fraternity and active with the daily newspaper, he was serious about school. That work ethic culminated in Sheridan leading his own public relations firm less than 10 years after graduating.
Sheridan worked for The Daily Mississippian as a staff writer and columnist, as well as stints as sports editor and copy editor. He said he learned the most, however, while working at Oxford Publishing under Ed Meek (BSJ 61, MA 63), just out of school.
“It was a great opportunity to learn from Ed and he taught so much,” Sheridan said.
Sheridan originally wanted to be a magazine writer, and got his foot in the door by writing outdoor-focused columns for regional publications. He also was published in Field & Stream and Sports Afield magazines while in school.
To continue magazine writing, he realized he was going to need to move to either New York or Los Angeles—a move he didn’t want to make.
“It just was not an option at the time,” he said.
Originally from middle Tennessee, Sheridan began looking for work in the Nashville area. He started off working at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations in Nashville. He specialized in grassroots organization and media relations and worked as an account supervisor on projects including education, energy, health care and telecommunications.
From there he moved to Spheris, a health care technology company that provides medical transcription technology and services.
In January 2009, Sheridan started his own public relations firm, Sheridan Public Relations LLC. The company represents many companies of varied interests including the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, AlphaGraphics, the Downtown Franklin Association and O’More College of Design.
In its short history, Sheridan’s PR firm has also received two awards from the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. In 2010, it was awarded the Parthenon Award for media placement. In 2011, it received the Award of Merit in the public affairs category.
His firm employs two Ole Miss journalism alumnae–Macey Baird (BA 11) and Kristie Warino (BA 11).
Sheridan, the once-busy student, leads a very busy life today outside of work. He serves on the City of Franklin Historic Zoning Commission and the board of directors for the Harpeth River Watershed Association. He also does volunteer work for various nonprofit organizations. He continues writing for various outdoors magazines including Outdoor Life.
Sheridan said that one of the most important skills anyone can have is to be able to communicate effectively.
“I have realized there are very few people these days learning how to write well,” he said. “It’s a highly marketable skill.”
It’s also one that got him where he is today.
Sheridan and his family live in Franklin, Tenn.