News - Publicist With a Mission - How Lesley Burbridge Found Her Calling

Publicist With a Mission - How Lesley Burbridge Found Her Calling

Publicist With a Mission - How Lesley Burbridge Found Her Calling

This year's entertainment awards season has kept Lesley Burbridge busy attending high profile events with clients. Whether walking red carpets in Los Angeles at award shows like the SAG Awards and Oscar events, jet setting to New York's Fashion Week for the Heart Truth Red Dress Collection Fashion Show, accompanying clients on national media tours, or attending the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., for Lesley it's just another day on the job.

Since graduating from Greenville College in 1989, Lesley has achieved a prominent career in public relations working on numerous film and television projects and representing top talent including music artists, athletes, authors, producers, and other celebrities. She has directed publicity at Word Records in Nashville and is now a senior vice president at Los Angeles-based Rogers & Cowan, one of the largest entertainment PR firms in the world. The position opened up for her as a result of the nine years she devoted to building her own PR firm, L.A.B. Media.

After working eight years for Word Records, Lesley felt led to broaden her PR work beyond music. As doors opened for her to work with celebrity personalities,authors, and filmmakers and in other areas of entertainment, she left Word Records to start her own company, L.A.B. Media. Word Records immediately became one of her first clients.

"When I started my business, there were very real risks," said Lesley. "There was that uncertainty as to whether business would come in and projects would be sustained, but I knew God was leading me to it. He opened a way to do it that started me off with clients and it only grew from there."

Lesley's success over the last 25 years is due in part to her focus on developing her areas of strength. As a college student, she benefited from Greenville College's emphasis on liberal arts, which required her to refine her strong research and writing skills.

"Though I majored in psychology and biology, I did a great deal of writing in those classes. The reports and papers were very involved, and I learned a lot through writing them. It prepared me for my career in ways I couldn't have predicted," she said.

She was introduced to the Christian music industry at Greenville College through her involvement in the student-run Agape Festival, now known as AgapeFest. She served as director of the festival and partnered with her friend and classmate Michelle (Fink '90) Wright who joined her in that role. Together, they managed a staff of about 20 people, a budget, and strategies for marketing and PR.

Lesley said, "We both welcomed the challenge of Agape gladly and had one of the best experiences of our lives, which actually changed the course of our futures forever. We learned through the experience what we were each equipped for and what we enjoyed. It felt as if we discovered what we were 'made' for."

As a result of their experiences leading AgapeFest and the network of connections they developed, both went on to enjoy successful careers in Nashville's music industry after college. Michelle became vice president of marketing at Reunion Records and is now the director of brand sales and retail marketing for Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The two remain close friends and business colleagues.

Lesley moved to Nashville and in 1994 went to work for Word Records as director of publicity. One of her most memorable experiences occurred in the green room of Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee.

"After booking Point of Grace on the show, watching the monitor and realizing that millions of women around the world saw the show that day and heard the group sing about Jesus, I realized that this was my mission field. I didn't have a passion to just be the best publicist or to climb the corporate ladder, but to use the platform of media to share hope and faith with the world."

In 2000, Lesley stepped out on her own to launch L.A.B. Media. She had guided the business to steady growth for nine years when a client of Rogers & Cowan asked her to collaborate on a project. Two days later she flew to L.A. to meet with them and begin the project. Three months later, the CEO of Rogers & Cowan contacted her to discuss acquiring L.A.B. Media. Eight months later they signed the deal, and Lesley relocated to L.A.

She received advice in the early days of L.A.B. Media that has stuck with her. "I was told that all I need to do is keep showing up like I always have," said Lesley. "Just do the best work you can on what is before you and don't think too much about how to build a business. Just keep doing it like you have done it every day before, and it will grow."

Now, as a senior vice president at Rogers & Cowan, Lesley leads the newly developed Faith & Family Entertainment Department, manages mainstream and faith campaigns, and oversees teams in Nashville and L.A. In 2012, Rogers & Cowan hosted the first-ever Family Entertainment & Faith-Based Summit with Variety Magazine in L.A., which drew industry leaders from Hollywood and around the country. Lesley enjoyed the honor of coordinating the event and will do so again in June.

Her sense of purpose has only strengthened through the years. "I started my business with a vision to make a difference and work on projects that matter. I work with many who have a real heart and mission behind them. They affect lives through their work," said Lesley.

Lesley isn't just living her dream in the entertainment industry; she is also living her calling.

To read more of Lesley's story, click here.

This story was published on April 08, 2013

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