40 Under 40 unveil key learnings from NEXT conference

NEW YORK: As PRWeek's NEXT conference wound down, 40 Under 40 honorees offered key takeaways they will discuss with their corporate leadership and co-workers.

NEW YORK: As PRWeek's NEXT conference wound down, 40 Under 40 honorees offered key takeaways they will discuss with their corporate leadership and co-workers.

Lisa Passé, senior manager of global consumer PR for Starbucks, participated in several discussions involving the intersection of authenticity, transparency, and storytelling. "We have to be in control of creating that message. We have to be frank and say we absolutely control that narrative."

Cameka Crawford, manager of multicultural communications and community relations for Verizon Wireless, said that peers she spoke to at the conference all agreed that multicultural marketing is no longer about skin color, but about shared experiences. A key element to creating effective multicultural marketing is to ensure that PR and communications leaders reflect that diversity within their own ranks, she said.

Promoting the important role that PR can play within an organization was an area where the 40 Under 40 panelists believed PR executives could be doing a better job, and improving that education effort internally was a key way that PR executives would retain their seat at the table.

Following along the idea of education, Noel Ryan, executive director and head of corporate communications and IR for Delek, said it was imperative for PR professionals to dig deeper and gain knowledge about all areas of a business, such as legal and compliance. He added that there was value to becoming an expert in a particular field. "Choose an industry, choose continuity. Your knowledge will lend itself to better messaging. If we are all in the same room having discussions we won't have a disparate message," said Ryan.

Looking to the future, Shawn Turner, PR manager for Disney Store North America and Disney consumer products, said that today's PR professional must take the time to mentor the next generation. Equally important is making sure valued associates stay. "We have to have conversations about career paths and make sure that our associates develop and grow."

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