2010 PR People Awards: Speechwriters of the Year

Co-Winner: Steve Soltis

Director, Leadership Communications, The Coca-Cola Company

A caffeinated Coke may be necessary to fuel Steve Soltis’ prolific speechwriting; he wrote more than 95 speeches in 2009 for Coca-Cola chairman Muhtar Kent, including key speeches for the World Economic Forum and Clinton Global Initiative. He also developed “Refreshing Remarks,” a company-wide document issued quarterly to all employees providing key message points and speeches that they can use publicly and with customers. The document has been released in two quarters to date, and has had more than 35,000 readers (out of a 45,000 pool of recipients).

Soltis is also the architect for the Coke’s Senior Executive Speakers Bureau—an initiative that proactively finds speaking engagements for the senior leadership at various companies and organizations. Rather than waiting for senior executives to be approached by various organizations, the bureau researches and find companies and organizations that serve as PR opportunities. —JC

Greatest mentor: “My wife, Stacy. She’s an incredibly effective communicator and multitasker who demands the highest standards from herself and those she cares about. I have learned volumes from her.”

Co-Winner: Gary Sheffer

VP, Communications & Public Affairs, GE Corporate

Gary Sheffer not only oversees external and internal communications and provides strategic communications advice for GE, he is behind some of the most effective words emanating from the GE Corporate platform. He assisted in the creation of GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s December 2009 “Renewing American Leadership” speech, which was extremely successful in reaching out to cadets, GE employees and key influencers. Media coverage of this speech graced the cover of Financial Times and was reprinted in the Washington Post and earned a 2010 Platinum PR Award from PR News. Sheffer’s 17-year background in journalism also comes in handy when contributing to the Huffington Post as a guest columnist. —JC