Meet Sheri Okun, the newest account manager at the AJT. Through her work at the paper, she believes she is giving something back to Jewish Atlanta, using her 28 years in media and advertising account management to help fulfill a higher calling.
“The thing I love about my work is that I find people and companies that are a good match for audiences and help come up with creative ways to marry them.”
A single mom, Okun holds a Realtor license and enjoys staging real estate, which she describes as making homes beautiful in a way inspired from the heart.
Okun moved from upstate New York to Atlanta and recalls how she was looking for a feeling of belonging when she found herself a single mom with a toddler, Erin, now 16.
“In 2005, I stumbled across the Marcus JCC in Dunwoody; I didn’t know it existed. When I pulled into the massive, sprawling, beautiful complex, I started crying out of gratitude.”
She joined the MJCCA gym, enrolled Erin in The Weinstein School, where she also became a substitute teacher. Erin continued her education at The Davis Academy and is now attending The Weber School, from which she will graduate next year.
As a breast cancer survivor, Okun beat the disease in 2012. “Everything happens for a reason.” She said her friends and the community provided needed support. “People arranged rides. People were bringing dinner all the time. They took care of Erin when I wasn’t feeling well. It was unbelievable.” Okun now helps counsel other people recently diagnosed with diseases, primarily breast cancer. She feels especially capable of using her experience to guide the newly diagnosed.
Sheri and her daughter like politics and have volunteered in causes related to Israel-American relations. They write poetry about their lives and experiences, have three dogs and are athletes. Sheri played soccer through high school and college, even coaching leagues at the MJCCA for three years, and Erin plays soccer and volleyball. During the school year, the pair often spend time with Sheri’s parents in South Florida and at their mountain home near Boone, N.C.
Erin has performed and volunteered at the William Breman Jewish Home and leads the student ambassadors at Weber, speaking to freshmen and their parents about the school.
“It’s going to be a huge change when she goes to college. I don’t think she wants to stay in Georgia. She wants to see other parts of the country,” Sheri said.
Meanwhile, Sheri started with the AJT earlier this month. Since June 3, she has been building relationships with what she considers a receptive audience. “I love it. The AJT is received very well by companies I have been calling who I feel want to reach our market. People have been really nice. It’s very easy to get appointments.” It wasn’t always that way when she was working for other publications. Okun has held the same position since 1991 at such media companies as Creative Loafing, the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Z93 radio station and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Since joining the AJT, she said she has enjoyed brainstorming with Jewish organizations to help them become more known and grow their business. Her job involves bringing in new advertisers.
“You should market to people even if they know you and like you. Coke does not stop its ads because the world already knows who they are.”