The Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication has conducted oral history interviews with dozens of the nation’s most influential public relations practitioners. The Page Center website features a vast collection of transcripts and videos of these interviews. On this blog, we will highlight some of the advice given by professionals on attaining positions in the field of public relations.
Maril MacDonald is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Gagen MacDonald LLC. She is a nationally recognized leader in communications and strategy execution. Prior to Gagen MacDonald, she served as vice president, corporate communications, and was a member of the Executive Management Committee for International Truck and Engine Corporation (formerly Navistar), and with CEO John Horne, directed a successful cultural turnaround, bringing the company from the brink of bankruptcy to being named to the Wall Street Journal’s “Top 10 Performers” list and Business Week’s “Top 50 Companies”.
MacDonald is the current President of the Arthur W. Page Society and is a member of the Arthur W. Page Center Advisory Board.
Value of a sense of fun in the PR workplace
“We talk about the Page principles; conduct public relations as though the whole company depends on it. Well, that’s a serious calling right? And that’s a lot of work and something one shouldn’t take lightly.”
“In the same sense, a lot of what we do is very exhausting work. A lot of what we do is working with organizations that are going through tough times, and people who are working day and night through extraordinary conditions; trying to balance their family, trying to turn around a company or deal with some difficult issue, and for us, we should show up and bring energy to them, not deplete them. And we should show up in a way that always bears in mind how critical the mission is, but not take ourselves so seriously that we grind everybody into the floor.”
“And that’s a really important distinction for us, and something we spend a lot of time on, because as consultants, the worst thing to do is to swoop in and drown everybody or just really exhaust them. And that can happen a lot. It’s very easy to go in and go oh, you should be doing this or you should do that or isn’t this terrible. I just really believe that it’s totally wrong.”
“And so we’ve always looked and said, if you can’t have fun along the way, and keep a sense of humor, then why are we doing this?”