General Motors

Five Minutes With Iman Jefferson, Head of East Region Communications, Buick, GMC and Cadillac

Meet Iman Jefferson, Head of East Region Communications, Buick, GMC and Cadillac. No two days are the same for the NY-based PR pro, who oversees a range of activities for General Motors' top brands. Iman, who we’re proud to have on our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, shares how she got where she is today, and how she’s using her voice for the greater good. 

What attracted you to this industry and how did you get your start?

I've always been passionate about communications and I knew at an early age my career would be tied to the space. I initially started my career as a journalist but within a few years pivoted to public relations. My first PR job was in Chicago at the advertising powerhouse Burrell Communications Group, working within their Engagement Marketing department handling national African American media relations for McDonald’s. It was such a phenomenal way to break into the field. I learned early the importance of developing a presence with executives, being a strong writer, establishing solid media relationships and understanding how critical research and insights are integral to a holistic communications plan.

What does your current role entail?

As communications lead for the East Region for Buick, GMC and Cadillac, I’m responsible for creating and identifying ways to extend product and brands news and storytelling opportunities throughout the entire eastern region of the country (trust, it’s no small feat!), to some of our key media and influencer audiences. Given that each brand has a unique consumer and brand proposition, no day is the same. One day, it could be a focus on the recently-revealed GMC Hummer EV while the next could be securing influencers to spend a few days in the 2021 Yukon Denali through a curated experience. Additionally, I lend my experience and voice to offer counsel and strategic insight regarding the current social injustices.

Please share a few career highlights with us.

I've been fortunate to have worked on so many awesome launches and campaigns throughout my career! A few highlights that come to mind would be working on the launch of McDonald’s McCafé beverage portfolio and how we leveraged key individuals from the African American audiences to tell a fresh story that resonated with consumers. A few others would be ringing the bell at New York Stock Exchange for the launch of a car sharing brand’s NYC rollout as well as the first look preview of the 2021 Cadillac Escalade at the top of the year.

What are a couple of current projects you’re excited about?

There is so much happening! With the recent announcement from GM that in the next five years, 40% of GM models sold in the U.S. will be electric, we’re focused on continuing that momentum from a storytelling perspective and continuing to uncover which vehicles and sub-audiences can help properly position that news, which will help transform not only the company, but the entire automotive industry.

Any future goals and/or plans you’re working towards?

I think this year has created the opportunity for all of us to examine how we can be better humans in general. A part of that conversation is centered on diversity and inclusion efforts. It’s been an area I’ve been passionate about I’d say my entire life. So, it’s been exciting to use my voice to help strengthen efforts in my current role. I’m also excited to also be part of the inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council with The PR Net, where we’ll have a mentoring element. Any time we can create an environment where we not only bring in but embrace unique perspectives and backgrounds, the better chance we have to ensure equity for all.

Beyond that, I recently moved into a new apartment here in Harlem and I’m working on making the second bedroom a hybrid office/wellness space. This unprecedented time has demonstrated the importance of having work-life balance. Next up, finding a stylish ergonomic desk.

Photo credit: Velissa Vaughn


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