Lawyer, communicator, democratic strategist, litigator, business owner, former congressional candidate -- Jessica Ehrlich ‘91 sees possibilities as limitless! After graduating from Shorecrest she attended Vanderbilt University, spent a year traveling the world, and worked for Cartier, Inc., The Estee Lauder Companies, and Goldman Sachs. After the events of September 11, Jessica went to law school to pursue public policy.
Jessica fondly remembers her Shorecrest days and the values and lessons that helped her succeed with her career and career goals.
In what ways has your Shorecrest experience had an impact on your career and who you are today?
My Shorecrest experience has helped me in many ways, and I feel the older I get the more important it is to me. I wasn't a full "Lifer" (a student who spent at least 12 years attending Shorecrest) but I spent elementary and high school at SPS and my friendships have remained some of the closest of my life. Two aspects of having 58 people in your graduating class that I have carried with me are a) the importance of teamwork and b) the importance of chipping in. I was able to participate in so many sports, clubs, activities and unique academic experiences as a result of the smaller size of my class. Throughout my career, I have worked at various Fortune 500 companies and the Federal government and I have never been daunted by a new challenge because of these two factors. For example, senior year we were short on soccer players and one of my best friends was an excellent soccer player. I always enjoyed playing but I certainly had never played on a team before. Well I pitched in and ended up starting, being older than a lot of our Middle School players on the Varsity team. I remember feeling daunted playing against some of the larger public schools and other teams, but I gave it my all every time I was on the field as did these tiny seventh graders going up against other seniors in high school! We created a wonderful camaraderie and a pretty good team by the end of the season! So many times in my career I have been asked to pitch in and do work outside my strict comfort zone to accomplish our work goals and no job has been too small or too large!
Share a little about your education post Shorecrest and your career path.
I attended Vanderbilt University and then spent a year traveling the world before moving to NYC. I worked for Cartier, Inc., The Estee Lauder Companies, and Goldman Sachs. After 9/11, I decided to go to law school and work in public policy. I attended SMU Dedman School of Law on scholarship and then took the Florida Bar. I went to work in DC as counsel in the House of Representatives before heading back to NYC to work for Bloomberg LP in NYC and DC. Following my Dad's illness, I returned to St. Pete and ran for US Congress as the Democratic candidate here in Pinellas County in 2012, and began my own law practice. The campaign led to me becoming a political correspondent for national news with regular appearances on FOX News, FOX Business and MSNBC, which led to my work doing crisis and litigation communications for companies and candidates as well as media trainings through my Clear Line Advisors, LLC. I have also expanded my law practice in downtown St. Pete and handle family and business matters from divorces to partnership agreements in Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Sarasota. I also serve as a Commissioner for the St. Petersburg Development Review Commission using my land use and zoning expertise as well as being the current chair of the Family Law Section of the St. Petersburg Bar Association.
What advice would you give to the graduating class of Chargers?
Be tenacious! Look for experiences that challenge you and pursue them with all the skills you have learned at Shorecrest and remember, you aren't alone. Your SPS friends and family will always be there for advice, comradery and a shoulder to lean on.
Or follow Jessica on Twitter @jessehrlich