Thought Leaders

  • Meet the PRSA Board: Sofia Coon, Director at Large

    Who is Sofia Coon?
    I’m 26 years old and am originally from Syracuse, NY. I’m currently a Senior Account Executive at Scratch Marketing and Media in Cambridge, MA. I’ve been with the company for about a year and a half and love the technology startups and companies we work with. I enjoy that I can nerd out on things like data integration, mobile apps, customer experience platforms and more. Trying to find a basic way to explain complex things is a fun challenge for me. I am extremely passionate about public relations and love that I get to help shape the strategy and messaging used by a client to provide awareness for them within their industry.

    You’ve been a board member for a few years. What is your focus for 2017? 
    I was a PRSSA member at both Curry College in Milton, MA where I earned my Bachelor’s and Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY where I earned my Master’s. When I moved back to Boston, I immediately got involved with the Boston chapter as I knew it would give me the networking contacts and friends that I would need throughout my career. I started on the junior leadership team, working to reinvigorate the young professionals network (YPN) with a colleague. The two of us recreated the program structure for professionals with 5 or less years’ experience, hosting networking sessions and events that catered to what the new PR professional needs to know. In 2016, I was asked to become a Director at Large on the board. I am now in my second term, continuing work with YPN as well as being a part of the committee for the 2017 PRSA International Conference, which will be held in Boston this fall.  I am also working with our campus connection program – providing Boston area schools with information on the tools and resources PRSA can provide rising juniors and seniors. I look forward to seeing what all three opportunities bring in 2017 and continuing to be a part of the board for years to come.

    Why are you involved with PRSA and what has it meant for your career?
    PRSA has always been a rock for me. The seasoned professionals I’ve met have been through a number of the same obstacles and challenges that I have. I know I can count on them to respond to an email, help me with a recommendation or provide me the advice and guidance that will continue to send me down a successful career path in the future. All I can do is to continue to have the same “pay it forward” mentality and do what I can for the generations of PR professionals behind me. I also know that I can reach out to a PRSA member internationally and more likely than not they are happy to answer any questions I may have. I was recently doing some industry research in Canada and had multiple members that were willing to have phone and video conversations to tell me about their experiences.

    What is your recommendations for individuals thinking about joining PRSA?

    I always offer them a chance to be a guest at an event or to look at what the national website has to offer in terms of webinars and mentorships. I have a number of examples of how PRSA has helped me navigate my career and I can share how it will help them if they become a part of the network.

    When you’re not involved with PRSA Boston or doing your full time PR gig, what do you do?
    I love reading and reviewing books. I have so many daily adventures in my job, but I love reading about other worlds and time periods. I’m also a big musical theater and drama nerd. I used to be on the board of a theater company in Wayland, MA and now volunteer for box office or front of house management when I have the opportunity. My boyfriend and I also love going on road trips. Vermont is one of our favorite places to go when we have a long weekend.

    Tell us something not many people know about you (Don’t worry….we’ll keep it a secret!).  

    I have a bookstagram! I’m getting it back up and running in 2017 as I had to take a small hiatus, but follow me on @BookishBlueFox for some book recommendations and to follow my personal reading challenge of 60 books in 12 months (I read 55 in 2016).

  • The Interview: GE’s CCO Deirdre Latour Chats About GE’s Corporate Culture, the Presidential Campaign Aftermath for Journalism and Why She’s a Closet Bruins Fan

    For seventeen months, Deirdre Latour (@deirdrelatour) has been the lead communications strategist rolling out one of the biggest US business stories of 2016: the corporate headquarters move of Fortune Global 25 company GE (NYSE:GE) to Boston’s burgeoning Seaport District. On Wednesday, November 9th, she will, for the first time, share that story directly, as keynote of PRSA Boston’s C-Suite Conversation with Deirdre Latour at The NonProfit Center of Boston, just one block from South Station.

    In anticipation of her presentation, we wanted to know why she thinks GE’s move to Boston will be good for the company as well as our region. PRSA Boston President Loring Barnes catches up with GE’s busy global communications leader:

    LB: You’re a College of the Holy Cross alumna, so welcome ‘back’ to Boston. I’m going to jump right in: What are GE’s goals for being a leader in the Greater Boston community?

    DL: We really want to become integrated within all facets of the community and before too long, be known as an important value-add neighbor. The fact that the GE Foundation is headquartered in Boston gives us a solid anchor from which to build out our philanthropic investments in STEM education for local public schools and to support innovative responses to urgent public health challenges. We just announced our latest foundation grant to fund opioid addiction response resources at Boston Medical Center within a $15 million dollar healthcare pledge overall (Boston Globe, Metro, Oct. 10, 2016). Through our actions, we want to convey that GE is here to make positive contributions to Greater Boston, in part through investments in innovation to drive solutions.

    LB: GE’s corporate communications is located in NYC, Boston and Washington, DC. You’ll be speaking to an audience of public relations professionals. Are you hiring?

    DL: We really are in good shape. We run lean and mean and of course with the use of technology where we located is less important than the capabilities and connectivity that we provide. GE is in 180 countries, and this is the communications team that got us here so we really didn’t have a need to rebuild it. Of course, I always love to meet new talent!

    LB: You will be speaking the night following what feels like an interminable and bruising presidential election. What will US journalism look like as we head into 2017, and in your view how will this be reshaped by this electoral process?

    DL: It’s really a shame, but journalists have been denigrated and even traumatized throughout this campaign. In too many cases, reporters have become the story. While video, audio and digital content will continue to be king for PR and media alike, I think the journalism landscape will look very different coming out of this election. It will be interesting to see how some of the big networks are reshaped.

    LB: What is the biggest misconception of GE in your view?

    DL: I think any organization of our size – we employ 330,000 employees across 180 countries – gets saddled with the label ‘big business’ meaning large, inefficient or monolithic. But what is big business really? It’s the people who believe in innovation to make our world a better place. 125,000 of our employees are here in the US. This workforce brings diverse perspectives, education and ideas to a singular mission of driving change. GE offers an environment of urgency for bright minds; these are people who are drawn by the energy of innovation and who are determined to make a difference.

    LB: Do you think GE’s personality will change with its move to Boston, and if so, how?

    DL: It already has, and definitely for the better. Whenever you change your physical surroundings, the process of relocating requires that you shed excess material things and you think fresh about what you want to do differently. For GE, I think we consciously didn’t transport any sediment of bureaucracy that likely built up over time simply from years of being in one place with a consistent operational routine. Any move is disruptive, but that’s proven to be good for us. It’s exciting to be reinventing what a corporate headquarters looks and feels like. Our CEO (Jeffrey Immelt) is working in a very visible, centrally located office. He likes it as do our employees. For anyone with the ability to compare, they would have to say that the GE in Boston feels faster, leaner and more engaging. Our new Fort Point neighborhood, with so much building going on around us, truly fits the sense of transformation that is happening within our company.

    LB: Let’s talk about your career journey a bit. PRSA Boston will be your first speaking opportunity in the city, and to other public relations practitioners since this big news and GE’s subsequent arrival. You’ve had a meteoric rise from your early days on the agency side (Porter Novelli, then Edelman). How would you appraise your career path?

    DL: Yes, I never thought I would be as senior in my professional role as I am. I came into GE not knowing how little I knew, but I was fortunate that this company incubates learning and gives every employee the opportunity to reach and grow. While I benefited from that, I really never had a master plan to advance my career. I just worked hard in the moment and the rest happened as a result.

    LB: What would you tell your 21-year old self about how to shape a successful and fulfilling public relations career? Is there an insight or lesson you wish you knew then that you want to share now?

    DL: I would say, be kinder to people. Assume that people are coming from the best place and that they have their own context for how they approach problem-solving or work in general. Things don’t have to be done your way to get accomplished.

    LB: By virtue of directing a global communications function, you have a 24/7 job. What do you enjoy outside of work to recharge or take a break?

    DL: I think everyone needs boundaries to protect personal time. I have a great team that helps me to accomplish this so that I can be present with my family. When I’m not traveling, reading for work or otherwise busy with my kids, I’ll turn on HGTV. I love interior design, home décor, photos of architecture and fashion and anything having to do with the arts. Where I’m in New York, I love Broadway! I’m a huge ‘Hamilton’ fan.

    LB: Important questions to wrap this up. Yankees or Red Sox? Has the GE move influenced your pro sports allegiances?

    DL: Oh I’m definitely loyal to Red Sox from my days back at Holy Cross. I watched David Ortiz’s last game and I was sad. He’s really been such a beacon, not only for baseball but also as a humanitarian. We’re going to miss him. I probably shouldn’t mention this but by marriage, we watch a lot of the Ottawa Senators because my husband is originally from Canada.

    LB: We won’t tell the Bruins. One more chance: Starbucks or Dunkin?

    DL: Starbucks. Remember, I’ve been in New York for twenty years.

    LB: Thank you for your time, Deirdre. We’re looking forward to hearing more about your vision for GE, some of the insights you’ve gained as a communications professional that inform your work today, and to offering this opportunity for more people to meet you and your PR team.

    DL: We’re looking forward to it.

    Early Bird Registration to the November 9th Program can be found HERE (payment via Eventbrite).

     

     – About Deirdre Latour, Chief Communications Officer, GE

    GE's Deirdre Latour

    Ms. Latour leads the company’s global communications functions, shaping the company’s culture and supports its business growth worldwide. She has worked for GE for over twelve years, having made the shift from respected PR firm Edelman. She is an alumna of College of the Holy Cross and member of the Arthur W. Page Society, a community of senior and chief communications officers, PR agency CEOs and academics. (@deirdrelatour)

     

     

  • PRSA Boston, Your Gym and You – A Note from our President

    So you have your gym on auto-payment. But do you faithfully go to get the results you want?

    Remember What Brought You to the Gym in the First Place?

    Somewhere between a closet of snug clothes and another postponed trainer session is this universal truth: writing the check does not deliver the intended payoff of the club you joined. You actually have to walk through the gym door, become acquainted with all that it has to offer, try some equipment or classes and find your groove.

    You make a commitment to squeeze exercise into a demanding life because it’s time for you. It makes you feel better, think reflectively, and gain vigor and confidence. Familiar faces evolve into workout mates, even buddies. I have found that playing tennis is like gas in my tank. It’s good for my psyche. I’ve sharpened my skills and grown a terrific circle of friends. My life is enriched for making the effort.

    Muscle Building Takes Purposeful Action

    Metaphorically, this could be PRSA, our profession’s deepest center of knowledge and largest PR practitioner network. Like the gym, unless you explore its apparatus and participate in its community, you don’t know what professional leads or opportunities you’re missing. Perhaps new business left on the table. Missing an inside track to a terrific career move. A segue into a vertical sector or communications specialty that is key to a promotion. Hearing of an adjunct faculty vacancy, having a chance introduction to a potential hire, new vendor or promising client. Without you in the room, you can’t get the benefits of membership.

    Make Your Resolution Now: Reap the Benefits of Participating

    We’re heading into a fantastic finish to what has been a truly action-packed 2016 for PRSA Boston. These programs each set their own stage for career and business connections. Why let more of these pass you by when it’s so easy to invite a peer, a prospect or plan an overdue reunion and reserve your attendance? Read more about the caliber of the speakers for each…

    Thurs. Oct 20 – The 2016 Presidential Election: A Media Perspective

    Wed. Oct. 26 – Solving Ethical Challenges in PR

    Wed. Nov. 9 ­– C-Suite Conversation with GE’s CCO: Reception, Awards + 2017 Preview

    Wed. Dec. 7 ­– Our Annual Holiday ‘Sparkle’ Fete, This Year for Globe Santa

    And While You’re Considering What’s Here…

    Don’t wait for New Year’s resolution season to leverage the best of PRSA Boston for your 2017 business and career goals. We’ve got time-friendly committee roles for strategic program planners, marketers, expert presenters, social media content authors, publicity mavens, finance managers and hospitality hosts—all easy and effective ways to meet new people while influencing this organization to meet your needs. Beyond our monthly programming and workshops in 2017 we’re again hosting our full-day PR Summit and the return of PRSA’s International Conference (ICON) to Boston after 20 years. These are all easy springboards to new introductions and unknown opportunities. They’re yours. And they’re already here.

    So consider yourself invited back to PRSA Boston, the foundation of our profession for going on seventy years. You will realize your own rewards by making the effort. No sweat and no heavy lifting. I look forward to seeing you soon!

     

     

    Post Author

    Loring Barnes, APR is the President of PRSA Boston and was the Co-Chair of the PRXNE16 Northeast regional conference hosted by our chapter. She is an expert in brand positioning, repointing mature organizations, research, leadership marketing and crisis planning and response, with over 25 years of outcomes that have been recognized by industry and client sector associations. Currently Loring serves on the board of Last Hope K9, a terrific dog rescue organization and plays tennis to pretend she’s getting fit. She has served on the boards of the Publicity Club of New England, patient and family housing nonprofit Hospitality Homes and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Alumni Association, her alma mater. She holds her Accreditation (APR) and is very active in civic affairs. Loring’s brand development and reputation consultancy, Clarity, is in its fifteenth year. @loringbarnes

     

  • Fast 5: Q&A with TN Communications Group President Tom Nutile

    In Media Relations, Thought Leaders, Writing on

    One of the most important skills that a PR professional needs to develop is the ability to draft a targeted media pitch that captures the attention of a reporter, producer, blogger, etc. within three seconds. There are so many ways that you can connect with the media today – whether it’s by email, press release, Twitter, Facebook or even the old fashion way—the phone.

    We recently sat down with TN Communications Group’s President Tom Nutile to learn more about his career as both an editor and media professional and some of his tips on how to pitch the media.

    Tom Nutile says media pitching isn't like it used to be.

    “PR people [should] take a much more active role in managing the conversation” because of social media. – Tom Nutile, TN Communications Group.

    Q: What’s it like working both sides of the fence—as editor and publicist?

    It’s a huge advantage. As a working journalist I received pitches all day long—and I got to see what worked, and what didn’t. Now in my PR business, I know how to craft a media pitch, a press release, a video, that’s likely to resonate with the media and gain coverage.

    Q: How has social media changed the way PR pros pitch the media?

    Social media has opened up more channels to reach journalists and target audiences and markets. It’s a much more complex environment to work in. The news cycle is 24/7, with updates on a breaking story sometimes coming every few seconds. The conversation—the stories—can build quickly and take on a life of their own. The feedback can be instantaneous, and because of it social media is making PR people take a much more active role in managing the conversation. But I ask, who better to own that than PR people?

    Q: Do the media still matter when PR people can publish what they want?

    Absolutely yes. There is still a valuable role for the media today. There’s a reason that coverage in the media—from professional journalists—is called “earned media.” You have to earn it—you can’t buy it or just write it yourself. Coverage in the media—third party endorsements, if you will—has immense value. Study after study show that people truly value and look for gatekeepers who can judge the news and package it in a way that’s relevant to them. As long as people want that independent editorial voice, you will have the media, and as long as you have the media, you will need PR people to manage media relationships and craft meaningful messages—and pitches.

    Q: Pitching the media is as old as PR. Is there anything truly new to say about it?

    Understandably storytelling is at the heart of what we do, and that hasn’t changed.

    There are always new ways to pitch, and journalists have changed. They want things faster, and they don’t want to have to work as hard to develop a story, so background info, whether it’s a graphic or data, is very important. They want short, tight, to-the-point pitches. And they want them in different, newer formats. Remember that journalists—and consumers—can reject your content in a flash—or they can take it viral just as quickly. Another fast-moving target is the truth. A falsehood or misconception can move quickly and derail your message before you know it. Pitching the media in this environment requires good storytelling with lightning quick reflexes, plus contingency plans for that fire you just didn’t anticipate.

    Q: Do we need more and better tools than we used to in pitching the media or reaching your ultimate audience, whether it is the general public or an industry?

    We need tools that work, that are up-to-date, and that resonate with the media we pitch and, ultimately, the audience we want to reach. That can mean a great OpEd piece for an online publication with high readership, it can be a tremendous Facebook post or tweet that goes viral. It can be a 90-second video, a case study or tight, bright website content. I spent half my career as a print journalist, and now the vast majority of my writing ends up online. There are ways to write effectively for each of these vehicles. What works for a tweet doesn’t necessarily work for an email pitch to a journalist, for example. I’ll share some of the secrets of how to write effectively for each these vehicles and more at “Crafting the Perfect Pitch,” the PRSA Boston writing seminar at ML Strategies on September 29. (Register here.)

    About Tom Nutile

    Tom is President of TN Communications Group, a boutique PR firm specializing writing, editing and media relations. A former journalist with the Boston Herald, St. Petersburg Times and Gannett, winner of three national Bulldog Awards for media relations, and a former VP of PR at Staples, Tom has more than 20 years of experience helping clients gain national and international exposure through print, broadcast and digital media placements. He can be reached at 508-397-2810 or tom@tncommgroup.com.

    About Fast 5

    This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos

    Do YOU have a candidate for a FAST 5 interview? Email: Joshua Milne at josh@joshuamilnepr.com and pitch your subject expert!

    Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or  board of directors of either organization. 

  • GE’s CCO DEIRDRE LATOUR TO KEYNOTE PRSA BOSTON’s ANNUAL MEETING

    First Speech in Boston Since GE Relocated

    GE's Deirdre LatourPRSA Boston chose the PRXNE16 Northeast District Conference to announce that GE’s Chief Communications Officer Deirdre Latour will be the keynote on Nov. 9, 2016 at the organization’s 66th Annual Meeting, themed ‘Communications for Innovation.’ The relocation of GE’s World Corporate Headquarters to Boston’s Seaport District is the year’s biggest business story for Massachusetts, with implications to public relations professionals from higher education, STEM and technology development, chamber and civic groups, infrastructure and commercial construction.

    “GE’s new leadership footprint is emblematic in how public relations advances the innovation economy, said PRSA Boston President Loring Barnes, APR. “To have the lead communications architect Deirdre Latour share how GE is collaborating with start-ups and stalwart brands will be both timely and insightful. This will be her first speech in Boston since GE relocated and we are thrilled.”

    Latour’s career journey from agency giant Edelman to GE underscores the range of professional opportunities that the corporate and agency duality allows. She is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society and has been recognized by PR Week and PR News.

    “GE is grateful for the enthusiastic reception we’ve received from the Massachusetts business community and legislative delegation,” said Latour, who will be returning to her home state. “As we move our headquarters, we understand how essential communications is to connecting with the Boston community.”

    GE’s decision to centralize its global headquarters in the burgeoning Seaport District has turbocharged Boston’s-related building, public works and highway construction. Latour will speak about how ‘adaptive communications’ is essential for innovation industries to accelerate business plans.

    About GE (www.ge.com. @ge)

    GE (NYSE:GE) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the “GE Store,” through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. Each invention further fuels innovation and application across our industrial sectors. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry.

    About Deirdre Latour, CCO GE (@deirdrelatour)

    Latour leads the company’s global communications functions, shaping the company’s culture and supports its business growth worldwide. She has worked for GE for over twelve years, having made the shift from respected PR firm Edelman. She is an alumna of College of the Holy Cross and member of the Arthur W. Page Society, a community of senior and chief communications officers, PR agency CEOs and academics.

    About PRSA Boston (http://www.prsaboston.org, @prsaboston #prsabos)

    The 66-year Boston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (registered 501c6) connects members to the world’s largest association for public relations professionals. PRSA Boston offers year-round thought leadership, Accreditation certification (APR), educational content and networking programs, which this year included hosting the PRXNE16 Northeast District Conference. PRSA Boston will host the PRSA 2017 International Conference in October 2017.

  • Who Ignited Cause Communications? Carol Cone, That’s Who. And She’s @ PRXNE16!

    PRXNE Keynote Speaker Carol Cone does more than CSR. She holds an impressive record of show jumping accomplishments.

    If your PR efforts include getting any organization to think beyond its boundaries by bettering society, odds are you applying the tools and cause marketing ideology that were pioneered by trailblazer and serial entrepreneur, Carol Cone. Long before terms like CSR, cause branding, corporate citizenship, sustainability or social purpose were adopted as business vocabulary, Carol created and claimed a new position within the C-suites of Fortune 500 companies, awakening them to the compelling business outcomes of engaging with society to leverage their reach and resources to do something purposeful with their influence. Where that vision has taken her, and savvy business leaders and marketers of all stripes, will be the subject of her PRXNE16 keynote on Monday, June 13th when Carol Cone comes back to where it all began, Boston.

    Loring Barnes, APR, PRSA Boston Chapter President and an early alumna of Cone, Inc., caught up with her former boss on topics ranging from authenticity to what it means to be competitive for this special expanded installment of Fast 5+5.

    Carol ConeSo Carol, you’re coming home to Boston. What are your thoughts on how Boston looks today?

    CC: When I founded Cone in 1980, Route 128 was known as “America’s Technology Highway”, with Boston home to important corporate brands –­ John Hancock, Gillette, Sheraton, Polaroid, BankBoston, Digital Equipment and Reebok – that gave this region a unique center of innovation, power and corporate leadership. Today, there is a differing type of innovation largely centered in healthcare, bio and medtech, underpinned by the regions expansive educational foundation of our universities.

    Q: You’ve been called ‘the mother of cause marketing.’ Is that a big mantel to carry?

    CC: To the extent this associates me with authentically linking the power of companies and brands with social issues, I’ve come to accept this as a succinct explanation of a complex and very exciting new business strategy. If every CEO or Executive Director understood how to harness social transparency and the interconnectedness of people and social purpose, their corporations and NGOs wouldn’t need an expert to bring big ideas and diverse partners to make this happen. It’s fulfilling professional vocation that has been exciting to nurture over time. Actually, it is my personal purpose that I was fortunate to discover very early in my career.

    Q: Are Millennials the torchbearers for advancing purposeful corporate social engagement?

    CC: Their generational imprint is an asset to a company or nonprofit that is looking to grow its visibility and impact. Millennials are teaching organizations that committed employees want to bring their ‘whole’ selves to work, contributing to missions that are compatible with their personal values and sense of purpose. They don’t want to bifurcate their convictions, rather they view their jobs as another channel through which they can achieve meaningful social impact. The challenge is for the employer to understand how to leverage that compassion as it inspires younger stewards of change to support the goals of their employers at the same time.

    Q: What is your worst PR or marketing experience and what did you learn from it?  

    CC: The phone call from my office started this way: “At least no one died!”  It was Thanksgiving weekend and that opening certainly got my attention. We were conducting a promotional tour for Smirnoff Vodka providing a real-time concert via a highly accomplished pianist, formally dressed in tails, sitting on an elegantly decorated flatbed truck, touring the city. Key to the decor was a 15’ high Smirnoff bottle illuminated with tiny glowing lights. What we didn’t know was that the display’s creator did not use inflammable plastic. The giant bottle, after an hour or so, burst into flames causing the pianist to leap off the flatbed. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the news coverage was not exactly what we planned. Lesson learned:  make sure you have lots of insurance coverage and plan, plan, plan for all eventualities.

    Q: OK, so what was your best experience and how did that inform your work going forward?

    CC: The creation of the Rockport Fitness Walking movement, that brought fitness walking to America as the next means of credible and accessible exercise. It also elevated Rockport to become a beloved national brand, growing them from an unknown $20 million company to over $150 million in 5 years. The second has been inspiring PNC Financial to embrace early childhood education as their core social purpose, committing $350 million over 20 years helping children to be socially, emotionally and intellectually ready for Kindergarten. We coaxed PNC to partner with the National Head Start Association (obvious) and Sesame Street (not so obvious). They have reached millions of children and families and have helped launch a national movement for early childhood education. Lesson learned for both: do your homework; find the next emerging social purpose and link amazing partners with a long-term commitment.

    Q: How would you describe yourself in one word?

    CC: Passionate!

    Q: You’re at a point where you can write books and relax. What is it that you still want to accomplish with Carol Cone ON PURPOSE, your next entrepreneurial venture?

    CC: When we’ve cured every social malady or inequity, I guess we can fold up our tent, but one only need to look at crushing world health and education needs, environmental abuses, and social stigmas to see the demand for change in our world society. Big ideas need expert accelerators to bring them to life, and that’s where our Purpose Collaborative steps in. I am so excited that in less than a year, we have grown to 32 members, representing more than 300 experts in purpose, from culture enhancement to comprehensive program development and execution to virtual reality for social impact. I am humbled by the community we have created, the smarts and passions of my “partners” and the challenges we are addressing.

    We find that while executives want to do more, they often concede that bandwidth limits how their organizations externalize ethics and trust. This is the new way of doing business, and its only growing. As long as there exists a need to upscale bold ideas with organizations that are willing to anchor them at the center of organizational and brand strategy our work is not done. Companies that get it – like Unilever, Microsoft, CVS, PNC and Starbucks ­– show the upside of adopting societal engagement at their core and learn that integration of their core competencies with society provides magical impacts well beyond their initial plan.

    Q: The reality of virtual communication reshapes how employees and customers learn and interact. What are your thoughts on the best of technology vs. in-person learning?

    CC: Technology allows almost unlimited access to information, from short form to long, from print to videos. The challenge is not getting overwhelmed, yet staying curious and looking for obvious — for learning — and not so obvious, such as connections for ideation. In-person learning has a wonderful aspect too, especially if teams come together with a shared purpose to solve a challenge and some ground rules as to how they interact. I really like both.

    Q: I will never forget our first phone interview: were keenly interested in how I defined being ‘competitive’ outside of the office. I later learned that you had arguably a dual career as a competitive equestrian. It’s hard to term your impressive record of show jumping accomplishment a ‘hobby,’ but how does this competitiveness indicator predict the profile of someone who will excel as a cause communications specialist?

    CC: The DNA of any innovator requires habits that hone knowledge and grow your confidence outside of business hours. Competitive horse jumping, as one example, takes inordinate discipline, off-hours commitment for work and travel, and a selfless willingness to roll up one’s sleeves for the most unceremonious tasks, such as cleaning horse stalls. The performance aspect emerges as minutes from years of training, learning and being coached. There are personality parallels of a competitive person that informs the focus of anyone who sees their PR career as one of transforming our world. Carol Cone ON PURPOSE is being built with collaborators who live this truth of social activism: you have to make it happen, with resilience, persistence, and active collaboration. Being competitive – meaning never giving up and learning, learning, learning and giving of oneself is a perceptible core belief system that is evident in how someone spends their personal time and influence others to do good works.

    Q: When you finish your presentation at PRXNE16, how do you anticipate the audience will think and feel about who they are, what they do and how they do it?

    CC: I hope they will be inspired, and have an elevated understanding of the role of social purpose in business today and how they can bring their values, passion and smarts into this new way of working for personal, business and societal impact. Doing well and doing good can be profound! You just need to be authentic, do your homework, not give up and look for the ‘gems’ to ignite for amazing outcomes.

    Carol offers this list of inspiring and must reads for CSR best practices: Download CCOP Cause Resource List  HERE.

    About Carol Cone, Founder + CEO, Carol Cone ON PURPOSE
    Twitter: @carolcone Web: http://www.purposecollaborative.com

    Carol Cone is CEO of Carol Cone ON PURPOSE (CCOP), a 21st-century consultancy whose mission is to move social purpose to the center of business and brand strategy. At the core of CCOP is The Purpose Collaborative, a collective of over 30 agencies, boutiques and individuals, with deep purpose, CSR and sustainability capabilities from strategy to execution.

    For over 25 years, Carol has embraced a commitment to building lasting partnerships between companies, brands and social issues for deep business and societal impact. Her groundbreaking work includes Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, Reebok Human Rights Awards, American Heart Go Red for Women, American Lung Association Lung Force, PNC Grow Up Great, Microsoft YouthSpark and The Vaseline Healing Project.

    She is also a recognized thought leader in social purpose, having conducted the world’s first research, then dozens of studies with business executives, citizens, employees and nonprofits to gain critical insights to inspire organizations to engage with society as being a wise business strategy.  She is a sought-after speaker and media expert, sharing her insights on purpose branding, corporate citizenship, sustainability and CSR.

    Carol served as the founder, CEO and Chairman of Cone, Inc. from 1980-2010. In 2007, PR Week called her “arguably the most powerful and visible figure in the world of Cause Branding.”

    In 2009, she was one of two US judges for the first PR Lions Awards at the Cannes Festival of Creativity. Her first book, Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding was published in 2010. Overall, Cone’s signature cause programs have raised more than $2 billion for various social issues. www.purposecollaborative.com

    About Loring Barnes, APR, Chief Communications Officer, Clarity
    President, PRSA Boston + PRXNE16 Conference Co-Chair
    Twitter: @claritynews + @loringbarnes  Web:  www.claritygroup.com

    Anyone who caught World Cup fever in ’94 or rode transit to Boston’s first Tall Ships knows Loring’s capacity for creating and executing big ideas, in part by uniting new partners, a core premise of cause communications. These programs earned nods by the USOOC and changed the culture of a behemoth government bureaucracy, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).

    Cone, Inc. was among Loring’s earliest and most influential agency posts that included the eventual Omnicom sibling agency Copithorne + Bellows among others in TX and PA. She founded Clarity in 2001 as a reputation and brand-building consultancy in order to be closer to the action as a C-client advisor. Clarity’s transformation of the CDC’s National HIV Testing Day campaign to become the Federal agency’s most impactful and praised at the United Nations by the White House stands out on a career highlight reel that includes: professionally recognized launches, mature brand reinvigorations, partnerships and effective crisis counsel alongside law enforcement agencies of all jurisdictions. The UMass Amherst ‘Alumna to Watch’ is passionate about dog rescue among a variety of board and volunteer commitments she keeps in play.

    PRXNE16 Speakers, Directions + Registration: HERE  Hosted by: @prsaboston with @prsane

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