Thought Leadership

10 More Pearls of Career Wisdom From PRSA’s College of Fellows

In honor of the 30th Anniversary of PRSA’s College of Fellows (#Fellows30th), members shared a “Pearl of Wisdom” — a piece of advice they were given that impacted their lives or careers and is something they would pass on to others. (Find the first 10 Pearls of Wisdom at this link.)

• John Cook, APR, Fellow PRSA, class of 1994: “What is the secret to effective communication? It’s simple. Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the alternative. And, don’t mess with ‘Mr. In-Between.’ And when my mentees have asked about professional advancement, I encourage them to use the tools of our profession and society to give service to those organizations that serve others.”

• Gerard Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA, class of 1998: “I have tried to live by this Mark Twain quotation for more than 40 years: ‘If you want success, you must find out where everybody is going and get there first.'”

• Jill Alexander, APR, Fellow PRSA, class of 2003: “Be sure to spend as much time planning your career as you do your vacation. For most of us, vacation lasts a week or two at the most. We sometimes spend an entire year planning a trip. Your career lasts 30 to 40 years, yet most people spend very little time planning their career journey.”

• Mickey Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA, class of 2009:Something I was told very young and it has really been useful to me all these years: ‘It’s not really about work-life balance; it’s about finding your work-life harmony.‘ So, work hard and play harder!”

• Amy Coward, APR, Fellow PRSA, class of 2014: “Put yourself out there.  Say YES to some things even if you’re unsure you can do them. You’ll surprise yourself, and it will be so rewarding.”

• Dave Remund, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, class of 2015: “Years ago, a mentor reminded me that working in public relations means always being in the middle — in the middle of an issue, in the middle of a difference of opinions, in the middle of helping foster change, in the middle of developing or refining a certain strategy, in the middle of launching a new initiative, and so on. We chose this profession or were drawn to it because we like being ‘in the middle.’ It’s important to keep perspective and to remember that lasting change requires lots of time spent in the middle.”

• Mary Deming Barber, APR, Fellow PRSA, class of 2003: “My parents taught me to treat others as you wish to be treated. It’s a fairly simple statement but it is my North Star and something I encourage others to do.  Thinking of how many problems would be solved if we all treated each other with kindness and honesty — and, always say please and thank you.”

• Ana Toro, APR, Fellow PRSA, class of 2016: “The imagination of Edward Bernays, a pioneer of public relations, was bigger than himself. He taught us how to build brands, use third-party endorsement, and become PR counselors. He taught us that, ‘We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes are formed, and our ideas suggested largely by people we have never met.’ The next time you are faced with a challenge, ask yourself, ‘What would Bernays have done?'”

• Olga Mayoral-Wilson, APR, Fellow PRSA, class of 2014: “When trying to find my way to a job in a new culture, I was given this pearl of wisdom: patience and persistence. It continues to be so valuable and since then I share it with my students, my colleagues and my nephews, nieces and offspring.”

• Tim Penning, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, class of 2018: “‘Your reactions to the situations in life will be far more important than the situations themselves.’ This got me through many crises or challenges with confidence, integrity and grace. I share this life lesson with my students and mentees constantly.”

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John Elsasser

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