A Peek Inside Her Agenda: Yunice Emir

Head of Corporate Communications & Experiential Partnerships Moët Hennessy USA


May 20 2024, Published 7:00 a.m. ET

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Yunice Emir took a nontraditional route into communications and public relations. After landing a role with her dream company, The Coca-Cola, in her hometown of Atlanta, she spent 10 years with them, ultimately becoming their Senior Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility. She led disaster relief efforts and public relations campaigns and shaped brand partnerships that drove community impact. 

Currently, as the Head of Corporate Communications and Experiential Partnerships at Moët Hennessy USA, she spearheads the implementation of strategic communication plans and experiential partnership initiatives that support the company’s overarching goals and vision.

With over 15 years of expertise in communications and social responsibility, Yunice has navigated various titles and responsibilities, but one constant remains: her unwavering focus on optimism and positivity. She prioritizes showing up as authentic, regardless of the boardroom setting and emphasizes the importance of being an observant leader who embraces feedback and takes ownership of one’s journey. Learn more in our interview with her below. 

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Her Agenda: What is your greatest superpower, and how have you nurtured this superpower?

Yunice Emir: My superpower is focusing on the positive and being optimistic. I don’t remember if I read this or heard it somewhere, but I’m always reminded that we are all going through something in life, and you never know what people are dealing with. I’ve embraced the idea that if I can smile at someone or make them feel seen or heard, then I’ve done my job. Those are my superpowers because they are the things people compliment me on the most.

When one of my colleagues first met me, she wasn’t sure if I was being authentic or not. Even on days when I’m not feeling as optimistic as usual, I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, and everything always works out, even when it doesn’t feel like it. That is what ignites and continues to spark my positivity and optimism.

Her Agenda: Working in PR, you are often behind the scenes, cheering on others and supporting clients. What is one of your biggest learnings from being behind the scenes that has prepared you to now be front and center?

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Yunice Emir: My background isn’t a traditional PR background. I didn’t start officially working in PR until I transitioned to Coca-Cola’s Brand and Business Communications Team. That was when I began to learn what PR was. In that role I learned to listen actively, which translated to my overall awareness. I listen to understand I’m observant.

My mom told me when I was growing up, I was always quiet and didn’t talk much. Even now, while I consider myself an extrovert when I’m out in a crowd, I’m typically the one sitting back and listening versus volunteering information. This has helped me prepare for the position I am in now.

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Her Agenda: Your bio mentioned your experience leading disaster relief efforts. Could you share an example of a challenging disaster response situation and how you navigated the communication and coordination efforts?

Yunice Emir: I led and managed disaster relief for Coca-Cola North America while I was on the Community Relations team. I experienced a magnitude of disasters that my predecessor in that role did not. Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico, was devastating. This was the first major disaster I handled. I was on a beach in Destin, Florida, enjoying the beautiful weather, with no clue about what was happening. I got a text from my boss asking, ‘Are you watching the news? Did you see what they’re talking about?’ I had no clue.

Although unaware of the situation, I had to act fast. Coca-Cola has always been present in communities, especially during crises. I recently developed the overall disaster relief strategy for North America to integrate and evolve the process of how we respond to disasters, including financial and product donations, bringing together our community partners to collaborate and work collectively in communities when they need us most.

Another one of my superpowers is resourcefulness. While I may not have known how to do something or who to call initially, I know how to get to the desired destination. 

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Her Agenda: You’re a realtor, senior corporate leader, and ambassador. How do you maintain a balanced routine?

Yunice Emir: Balance is relative. I figure out how to make it work and get things done that I need to accomplish. A few mantras and routines I’ve adopted and integrated into my daily life have helped me, including the Miracle Morning routine of speaking affirmations, visualizing, exercising, reading, and journaling. That helps keep me grounded.

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I’m becoming more aware of ensuring I get enough sleep. Either the night before or the morning of, I take out my notebook and write down what I want to accomplish in each area of my life for that day. I can’t tell you the sense of accomplishment I get when I can cross those items off the list, even if it’s something as simple as sending a calendar invitation.

One of my friends, Alechia Reese, wrote a book called Eating Elephants. The book asks, ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ The answer is, ‘One bite at a time.’

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Her Agenda: How would you describe your current role to the average person?

Yunice Emir: I am the Director of Corporate Communications and Experiential Partnerships at Moët Hennessy USA, the luxury wines and spirits division of LVMH, the global luxury conglomerate. We are the “MH” in LVMH.

My role is to share and highlight our portfolio of wine and various spirits brands externally from a PR perspective. I work with the media to introduce them to new product categories and launches from our brands. As opposed to focusing on individual brands, I discuss our portfolio of spirits, wines, and champagnes.

That’s the communications aspect. As for experiential partnerships, I collaborate, initiate, and cultivate relationships with various organizations, specifically non-profits, and community organizations, that align with our social impact engagement strategy focused on nature, as that’s where our products originate, and on being present in our local communities, as our people are one of our greatest assets.

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Her Agenda: How does community translate into your professional work life?

Yunice Emir: Community and collaboration are ingrained in my being. I have an innate ability to make valuable connections with people in person and to connect with individuals I meet when I hear they have shared interests. My instinct wants to introduce people, as I feel magic can happen through connection.

One of my goals in this current role is to help increase overall collaboration. I see the communications function as the central hub connected to every part of the business and every brand. If everything lives at this central nucleus, there are opportunities to explore and identify collaborative ways to connect people to help grow, amplify, and highlight our business and community.

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Her Agenda: With over 15+ years of experience within the corporate arena, what would be your #1 piece of advice applicable to working women?

Yunice Emir: Learn how to give, receive, and implement feedback. While at a previous company, I had the opportunity to meet with the SVP of our function shortly after they joined for an introductory meeting. I asked during the meeting what qualities they looked for in a VP or senior team member. As far as I was concerned, the question was fine. A few days later, I was called to my direct manager’s office, and they shared feedback that I lacked self-awareness. Since they were new to the role, the SVP thought it was an inappropriate question.

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I was devastated because the experience resembled being summoned to the principal’s office. However, I took a step back and stopped asking those types of questions. Over time, I realized people view situations differently. Although that person thought it was an inappropriate question, someone else may have welcomed it. Getting that feedback helped increase my emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Since then, my former boss has informed me that one of my greatest qualities is my ability to receive, accept, and implement feedback.  

A few colleagues and I attended a communications training session recently. When we had to give a short speech, the instructor provided feedback, and the next day, when we repeated the speech, the instructor said, ‘Oh my goodness, you implemented everything I said.’ I’ve learned to remove my ego. While I may get disappointed because we all want to think we’re great, ultimately, I want to grow and improve, which requires addressing areas for improvement.

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Her Agenda: What does luxury mean to you? What is your most meaningful luxury and why?

Yunice Emir: Luxury means different things to different people, but to me, it’s a feeling or an experience that makes me feel good. Whether it’s a fancy pair of shoes, which I have a strong affinity for, or an experience that makes me feel my best, shining a light on me and creating a moment for me is my definition of luxury. When I was in Bali last year, the breathtakingly beautiful scenery gave me access to that feeling of luxury.

My most meaningful luxury is time. It’s precious and limited. Increasingly, I’ve become more aware of that, which helps me be more intentional about how I spend my time and on what and who I spend it.

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Her Agenda: Describe a significant sacrifice you had to make in your personal journey to reach your current level of success.

Yunice Emir:  When I decided to join The Coca-Cola Company, accepting a position as a project coordinator for the frontline sales team at the time, I was living in Montgomery, Alabama, some life events happened, and I was trying my best to get back home to Atlanta, Georgia, by any means necessary. I was sending my resume to everybody I knew. My best friend from middle school was hiring at the time. I never thought Coca-Cola would be on my list of companies to work for because it’s so pie in the sky. Even being from Atlanta, nobody just gets to work at Coca-Cola. I applied anyway for the role. 

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To ensure that it was fair, my friend removed herself from the process. As soon as I started, I began networking and ultimately, many conversations that I had led me to my first role in Public Affairs and Communications, which was on the Brand and Business Communications team, my first ever official PR role. The sacrifice was me stepping outside of my comfort zone into the unknown, not knowing what it would become. If I wanted to write my story, I could not have written it any better than how it has unfolded. For whatever reason, I am being put in these positions in these spaces, not only for me but for my community.

Her Agenda: What affirmation did you use this morning?

Yunice Emir: I wrote it in my journal this morning. The mantra is from The 5am Club by Robin Sharma, “Today is a glorious day. I’ll live it at excellence with boundless enthusiasm and limitless integrity, according to my true visions and with a heart full of love.”

[Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]

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By: Tia Quashie

Tia Quashie is driven by her passion for inclusion and community engagement. Currently, utilizing these skills supporting new hire onboarding at Affirm on the Learning and Development Team. A recent graduate of Howard University, earning her B.A. in Strategic Legal Management Communication, she served as a participant for the Spotify HBCU Student Conference and is an inaugural member of Femme it Forward, a mentorship program for women of color navigating the technology, music, and entertainment industries. To date, Tia serves as a contributing writer for HerAgenda and spends her free time paying it forward by helping other female professionals navigate employment in the tech industry.

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