2014 PR News Hall of Fame: Sheila Tate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASheila Tate, Co-Founder, Powell Tate

Sheila Tate’s extensive political and government experience includes her service as White House Press Secretary to First Lady Nancy Reagan and press secretary for President-elect George H. W. Bush. As President Jimmy Carter's press secretary in the 1970s, Jody Powell's communications skills were forged in the crossfire of warring political parties and unrelenting media scrutiny. As the New York Times wrote in Jody Powell's 2009 obituary, they formed an "improbable" partnership to build the Washington, D.C.-based public relations agency, Powell Tate.

Much of Tate’s business career was devoted to agency work. She started agency life in 1967 at Burson-Marsteller in Pittsburgh, later spent several years at Hill & Knowlton in Houston and in Washington and  several years in Burson’s D.C. office. She was top of the call list for any organization that found itself in choppy water and built a reputation for steering groups ably through any media storm.

Tate has already been highly decorated for her outstanding career, having been named in 2001 by Washingtonian magazine as one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Washington,” and by PRWeek as one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Public Relations” and one of the “100 Most Influential PR People of the 20th Century.”

Powell and Tate also saw themselves as teachers. Their dedication to mentoring staff and recognizing and developing talent wherever they found it continues to inform the agency's approach. Powell Tate alumni regularly describe the impact Jody and Sheila had on their careers—the lessons they taught them, the doors the opened for them and the values they modeled.