Last night I attended the Institute for PR’s Distinguished Lecture event in midtown Manhattan. A lot of PR luminaries were there, and I have to say it was pretty inspiring to mingle with some brilliant communications minds. The guest lecturer, Bill Margaritis, senior VP of global communications and investor relations at FedEx, spoke on the chief communicator’s unique abilities to “see companies from all angles, which uniquely qualifies us to lead this transition back toward truth, trust, and transparency.” He also said this: “We must teach and empower even junior communicators to respectfully question and probe business practices, standards, and proposed actions with their business-side counterparts.” (here’s the full transcript).
Prior to Margaritis’ speech, Margery Kraus, president and CEO of Apco Worldwide, received the Alexander Hamilton Medal. In her acceptance speech, Kraus called on communicators to “build on values and nuture and protect opportunities.” Then, this morning on the train, I read a disturbing page one story in the NY Times. The Chinese government appears to be throwing “troublemakers” into their psychiatric hospitals—people with no mental health problems who are subjected to shock treatments and drug therapies for years. I got to thinking, if communications can build on values and establish truth, trust and transparency in Corporate America, could it and should it be doing more to fight injustice around the world? What do you think?
–Scott Van Camp