She is a veteran communications strategist who has promoted events featuring some of the biggest names in the business. And now entertainment publicist Cheryl Duncan is opening up on the personal front about a very different aspect of her life: her religion, Scientology.
Duncan ’s path in Scientology is intimately tied into her own career. In a journalism class at Howard University she met the campaign manager for a local D.C. political candidate. Duncan , while still a student, was eventually hired by the campaign manager, a Scientologist, to do public relations part time for his small manufacturing firm.
Duncan knew little about public relations so began researching the field and discovered Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s writings on the subject to be more practical and results-oriented than other public relations texts. Wanting to know more about Scientology, she visited a local church and found that Scientology worked without requiring “belief” and that it had practical tools to help an individual in all aspects of life. She’s never turned back.
She changed her major from journalism to public relations and eventually opened her own firm, Cheryl Duncan & Company, www.cherylduncanpr.com, which allows her to choose the projects that align with her interests and beliefs.
They include quality and wide-ranging entertainment, social betterment and book projects. She and her associates have handled projects from hip-hop to jazz to classical music, and from the last living Ziegfeld Follies girl, Doris Eaton Travis, to Essence magazine.
She was an integral part of the successful campaign to induct jazz icon Miles Davis into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and her firm handles the New York African Film Festival at The Film Society of Lincoln Center each year. Other projects include the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation Gala Luncheon in the Hamptons , Harmony for Peace Foundation’s concert at Zankel Hall at Carnegie, Jazzmobile’s Summerfest and the Korean Parade in New York City .
In addition to cultural projects, her firm takes on vital community issues: promoting medical missions to Haiti and Cambodia , exposing psychiatric abuse, encouraging New Yorkers to step up as foster parents, highlighting effective educational solutions, decrying the slow rebuilding progress after Hurricane Katrina and putting the spotlight on human rights atrocities. She was also lead consultant to the Congressional Black Caucus State of the African American Male Conference when it came to New York .
“With need in the world at every turn it would be incredibly irresponsible to shut my eyes to it,” says Duncan . “I’ve managed to craft a business that allows me to use my communications skills to promote solutions to a variety of social ills.”
She credits Scientology, with its emphasis on production, for giving her the push-through that gets the job done and gets her clients results.
On a personal note, she says that it helped her to repair a contentious relationship with her mother before she passed away in 1992. “Had I not learned about human dynamics from Scientology in some of the first courses I enrolled on, I never would have been able to become close to my mother at the end,” she says. “And that would have been incredibly sad to this day.”
View Cheryl Duncan’s “Meet A Scientologist” video at www.Scientology.org.