Q: Why did you choose public relations as a career?
A: I graduated from Penn’s Wharton School in 1964 as a marketing major. However, when I looked for jobs, there was nothing available in marketing. The Women’s Placement Service at Penn found me a job in PR, and I stayed in that field my entire career.
Q: Who were some of your early influences in the business?
A: Frank X. Long (a former PRSA Philly chapter president); Lois Morasco (my first boss at the predecessor of SEPTA); Sylvia Kauders (Special Events director for the City of Philadelphia and long active in PPRA); legendary PR counselor Patrick Jackson (A PRSA national president and one of the founders of PRSA’s College of Fellows); and Jack Felton (two-term PRSA national president and former president and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations).
Q: What do/did you enjoy most about working in PR?
A: The variety of challenges. Doing crises and issues management, I had a lot of challenges that were thrown at me. I can remember one which won a Pepperpot Award. It was for Hahnaman Hospital. The award was for a request from 60 Minutes asking about private/public partnerships. We worked with the attorneys to craft an answer. My husband decided to put the response at the beginning of the questions. The producer was Don Hewitt, the most feared producer at the time. After about six weeks, we decided it was time to call Mr. Hewitt who responded that 60 minutes was dropping the story and that there was nothing to report.
Q: What are some of your most memorable moments working in PR?
A: Establishing regular media briefings for Sun Oil during the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973-1974; founding and running my own well-respected PR firm for 35 years and grooming my successor owner, Chris Lukach, APR; being inducted into the PPRA and Rowan University PR Halls of Fame; being inducted into PRSA’s College of Fellows.
Q: Why did you join PRSA and how did it help your career?
A: To learn from and build relationships with other PR professionals.
Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced as a board member, chapter leader or national leader?
A: I was serving as a member of the executive board of PRSA’s Counselors Academy when I was asked to become Chair of the Academy. It was tempting, but I ultimately turned it down because I knew it would stretch me too thin and possibly hurt my firm.
Q: What do you see as some of the biggest challenges facing PR practitioners today?
A: Learning to write clearly, concisely, and logically.
Q: Who do you admire in the PR field?
A: Everyone I named in the second question.
Q: What message do you have for young people considering a career in PR?
A: Learn to write long-form. Texting is no substitute for a well written letter or email.
Q: If you could have changed one thing in your career, what would it be?
A: Be a better manager of people.