Teresa M. Lundy '14 is the founder and principal of TML Communications, a public relations firm. In that capacity, she acted as the campaign manager for Rochelle Bilal, the first woman elected to the head of the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office in its 181-year existence. Now, Lundy is the youngest person on Bilal's 23-member transition team and is volunteering to enact the initiatives the sheriff promised while on the campaign trail.
Lundy's college journey prepared her for the rigor of the professional public relations field. She started as a student at Delaware State University. Due to family circumstances, she briefly stopped attending school and worked exclusively in a sales position. She eventually made it back to higher education, this time at Montgomery County Community College, where she discovered her interest in government.
When Lundy transferred to Temple University in 2012, her professional background and previous leadership positions prepared her for all of the involvement she took on as a part of the media studies and production program at Klein College of Media and Communication. Though she initially believed she wanted to be in front of the camera, a series of internships and work experiences before and after she graduated in positions with a public relations firm, the City of Philadelphia government and Congress led her to discover that she really wanted to put others' stories in the spotlight using skills from media studies production.
Lundy founded TML Communications in 2015. Though the firm works with many clients across the country, it specializes in providing services to community organizations and movements that need exposure. This focus is what led her to the Bilal campaign. The sheriff, who has 27 years of experience with the Philadelphia Police Department and a history of community involvement, ran against incumbent Jewell Williams, whose eight years as sheriff left a controversial legacy.
Lundy believes that Bilal's campaign promises of communicating better with Philadelphians about their housing rights and building better relationships between the sheriff's office and citizens are steps in the right direction. Despite campaign financial difficulties and concerns about voter knowledge along the way, Bilal's team secured a victory. Lundy realized firsthand that the model of disconnected community relations is not sustainable.
"I saw that [Bilal] had a message," Lundy says. "We crafted that message, we then executed that message, and people believed it because they had to hear it."
Jabari Jones, the president of the West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative and the finance chair for Bilal's inauguration, agrees. He was impressed by how Lundy designed the campaign so that it centered on equality, a value Bilal holds dear.
"[Lundy] did an awesome job of managing the team, making sure that the deadlines were met, making sure that we were moving ahead in the right direction," Jones says. "She also did a great job of enlisting some really awesome people with really great backgrounds and skillsets to be able to come on the campaign and be able to tell the sheriff's story in such a way so that it inspired other people to come aboard the campaign and volunteer their time, their resources, and some of their experience to help us move forward."
Lundy continues to volunteer on Bilal's transition team to give life to those visions of progress from the campaign. Her volunteer work and her career trajectory exemplify how young go-getters, particularly Black women, can make an impact without sacrificing their professional growth.