Chris LaPlaca, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, ESPN
There are only a handful of employees left who remember when the idea of a 24-hour cable sports network seemed implausible, if not laughable. Chris LaPlaca, senior vice president of corporate communications with ESPN, is one of them. In the 35 years since the bright-eyed and freshly graduated LaPlaca joined the team at ESPN he’s overseen everything from media relations to corporate communications and back again. LaPlaca is now responsible for the company’s worldwide internal, public and media relations strategies, including oversight of consumer, corporate and employee communications for ESPN’s 50 business units. In 2014, PR News named him PR Professional of the Year for his work in corporate communications. As a longtime friend of PR News and tireless mentor, LaPlaca has shared his mentoring secrets with PR News readers and was awarded the Fred Soliani Award in 2003 for his overall contributions to Bristol’s Caring About People program, which provides mentors to “at risk” children in need of positive role models.