About Cheryl

Cheryl van Landingham Smithem is the Connection Maven. Over the course of her 33 year career as an executive in Charleston, she has directed the marketing, public relations and communications of businesses and non-profit organizations.

On December 22, 2021, Cheryl has retired.

During her career, Cheryl was an experienced, senior consultant for many firms who find themselves in a crisis. She consulted with medical firms in crisis as well as educational institutions undergoing child sex abuse charges. She guided communications strategy in legal situations where class discrimination was the topic and has helped conduct crisis audits.

Her responsibilities for Charleston PR & Design included creative direction, public relations planning, crisis communications consultation, social media messaging development and planning, SEO strategy for client websites, and marketing strategy development. [Watch and listen as Cheryl discusses the PR firm, its history and establishment.]

Cheryl Smithem, CEO of Charleston PR and DesignCheryl is a community leader, serving in prior years on the advisory board of WordCamp Charleston (May 2014) and previously for Carolina Studios. In addition, she served as a member of the Strategic Posse for Parliament, a creative industries economic development taskforce under the aegis of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance and New Carolina.

Cheryl is an instigator. In 2009 she initiated discussions that led to the development of Charleston’s Restaurant Week and South Carolina’s Restaurant Week.

Cheryl is a contributor to TheBalance.com’s Food and Beverage channel where her articles focus on marketing for new food and beverage consumer package goods. Her posts on marketing, website development, strategic planning, public relations, and social media can be read on The Connection Maven Writes. As a freelance writer, her articles on real estate and new construction have been featured in Charleston New Homes Guide. For additional examples of her work, go to our copywriting page on our site. Additional information about Cheryl’s freelance work may be found on Muck Rack.

As a speaker, Cheryl frequently shared knowledge with others and has made presentations to The Charleston AMA, The Coastal Community Foundation, SCORE 285 in Charleston, the Charleston WordPress Users Group, The Center for Women, The American Business Women’s Association Jessamine Chapter, The National Association of Women Business Owners (Columbia and Charleston), Summerville Chamber of Commerce, Charleston’s BarCamp Un-conference to name a few.

Curiosity first

As a naturally curious person, Cheryl remembers while riding in a wagon being pulled by other kindergartners, she wondered what dragging her knuckles along the ground would feel like… a mistake she won’t make again. However, her curiosity remains the driving force of her work as she devises strategy to set the client’s business apart in all aspects of their marketing communications.