New Mexico PRSA’s Member Spotlight features the amazing professionals who make up our chapter. You’ll get to the know the people behind Public Relations and Communications in New Mexico and what makes them tick. We’re happy to introduce you.
Jake McCook is a seasoned PR professional working at the nexus of public affairs, advocacy, entertainment and communications.
Known as a “deep generalist” among his peers, Jake has a diverse set of skills in media relations, digital strategy, stakeholder engagement, crisis communications, and corporate social responsibility. He also has a strong background in public affairs, having worked for former Governor Bill Richardson, former Senator Jeff Bingaman, and Senator Tom Udall. A proud native New Mexican, Jake grew up on an organic farm in Colfax County.
He has a personal passion for social impact communications and has worked at the intersection of storytelling and advocacy, most recently in Los Angeles as a liaison between the entertainment industry and the nonprofit world. He was the festival manager for last year’s “Way OUT West Film Fest,” Albuquerque’s LGBTQ+ film festival, and hopes to do more social impact work with the burgeoning film industry here.
In 2019, Jake returned to New Mexico after 10 years away to start his own consulting firm, McCook Strategies, LLC, based in Albuquerque. He is proud to be celebrating his first full year in business and credits NMPRSA for helping him with a smooth transition back home.
“I’m very grateful to the other communications professionals in New Mexico who took the time to have coffee with me, talk about the local landscape and brainstorm how I could utilize my talents here. I also appreciate NMPRSA for hosting networking events so I could meet others,” he says.
“We are lucky to have people like Jennifer Villela, Lynn Pitcher Komer, Joanie Griffin, Tom Garrity, and so many others who are both seasoned professionals and personal mentors,” he added. “I’m especially grateful to Kristelle Siarza, who was one of the first people I sat down with, and who said, sincerely: ‘We want you to succeed here’.”
Through NMPRSA and other avenues, Jake hopes to strengthen the communications pipeline in New Mexico and be a positive example to other young professionals.
“New Mexico is a special place–we can succeed here, and we can do just as good work as anyone else in the world.”
Since being back, Jake has done communications work in everything from environmental conservation to art and tourism and mental health. Like many, he lost work quickly when COVID-19 hit New Mexico, but has used the opportunity to help others. He recently started a website to support New Mexico media and is encouraging other PR professionals to increase their subscriptions and donations to news outlets across the state. Many of these outlets have had to furlough or layoff staff due to the financial impacts of COVID-19.
“Now more than ever, we need the media, and they need our support,” he says. “They are small businesses, too, and during the outbreak, many outlets are lifting their firewalls and providing coverage at no cost. But the news isn’t ‘free’ and quality journalism isn’t cheap. So, I’m calling on my industry–and anyone who is financially able–to step up and support New Mexico media by subscribing, donating, and spreading the word.”
To find out how you can support New Mexico media, visit www.supportnewmexicomedia.com.
To learn more about Jake and McCook Strategies, visit www.mccookstrategies.com
If you know someone who should be featured in our Member Spotlight, or would like to be featured yourself, please contact Nancy Salem at firstname.lastname@example.org.