1293 – Tell Your Story with Sand And Shores’ Tonya McKenzie

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Founder of Sand & Shores, Tonya McKenzie.

Sand & Shores is a public relations firm that works primarily with nonprofits, law enforcement, and authors. Tonya explains that the public needs to see good public relations from civic organizations to build trust. Many individuals worry that sharing their strong suits will come off as insincere or similar to bragging to their audience. Tonya explains that this is not bragging as you are sharing information as to what you are good at. Civic organizations can start building a rapport with their community simply by actively listening to their community members. It is also important for organizations to listen to understand rather than listening to defend. 

Tonya explains that leaders or members of an organization that notice a lack of communication as well as a rock block in productivity, are good candidates for her services. She wants to help organizations become comfortable with engaging in difficult conversations for the betterment of the organization as well as the community it serves. Tonya advises to use the contact me tab on her website to set up a time to chat. Explaining your current situation and why you reached out to Tonya will help get the conversation moving in the right direction. 


Key Points from the Episode:

  • What Sand & Shores is and who they work with
  • The importance of public relations for civic organizations 
  • How to handle objective feelings about “bragging”
  • Ways civic organizations can start building a rapport with their community
  • The negative effects of listening to defend
  • Ideal Clientele
  • How to engage with Tonya 


About Tonya McKenzie:

As the founder of Sand & Shores, Tonya McKenzie brings more than 20 years of experience in media relations, marketing, and client relations. Her non-profit experience includes being an Associate Executive Director, raising over a million dollars to open a new YMCA in Northern California and serving as a Los Angeles County Commissioner. Tonya McKenzie has built and led marketing departments for various companies. Tonya published Real Estate Agent Magazine in 2016 and hosts 2 successful podcasts. Tonya is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and chartered a graduate chapter in Northern California. You can find Mrs. McKenzie highlighted in the book, “AMAZING MOMS: Parents of the 21st Century” 

Tonya McKenzie is a child advocate and staunch supporter of children's rights. She is the author of “A Child’s Memories of Cartoons & Murder”, a memoir discussing her own (adverse childhood experiences) A.C.E.s. She co-authored the F.I.T. Kids Manual utilized by the Pittsburg School District (California), established several unique youth wellness programs and served as a Youth Commissioner for Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover She is a graduate of California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Currently, Tonya serves as the Past President of the North Redondo Beach Business Association, is the first African American woman elected to the Board of Directors of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce, holds a seat on the Redondo Beach Police Department Community Engagement Board, and The City of Redondo Beach GPAC. She serves as the Vice President of Black Public Relations Society – Los Angeles and on the Board of Directors for Better Youth. Tonya was named as the Redondo Beach Woman of the Year in 2021 and continues to proudly serve her community, Los Angeles County, and the Culture. 

Want to learn more? Check out the Sand & Shores website at

Check out Sand & Shores on LinkedIn at

Check out Tonya McKenzie on LinkedIn at

Check out Tonya McKenzie on Facebook at

Check out Tonya McKenzie on Instagram at .

Check out Tonya McKenzie on Twitter at


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