Throughout my long career in public relations, I have tried to talk with anyone seeking career guidance. Although I have met with and mentored hundreds of aspiring young PR professionals, time constraints of my jobs often kept me from being as helpful as desired. Through this blog, I hope to provide career insights and direction for individuals pursuing careers in public relations.
Following graduation from Indiana State University, I became a newspaper reporter where I had a tough-headed news editor who turned me into a decent writer.
After two years, I nearly doubled my salary when I became press secretary to Indiana House Majority Leader Richard A. Boehning. Unfortunately that spring, Boehning lost a primary race for U.S. Congress.
But a political adviser on the campaign suggested I move to New York to work on State Assembly races that fall. That short-term commitment led to seven great years in Albany, NY where I ultimately served as Director of Member Services, the PR arm of the New York State Assembly. From New York, I moved back to the Midwest and my first corporate assignment at Eli Lilly–Department Head, Media Relations. During my seven years at Lilly, I held three different PR jobs before accepting a major promotion to Director of Public Relations at Pitney Bowes in Stamford, CT.
That job provided the corporate springboard to Executive Director of PR at Sara Lee Corporation, followed seven years later by my move to Sears, where I eventually became a member of the executive committee and Senior Vice President of Public Relations and Government Affairs.
After 10 great years at Sears, I joined the agency world and opened the Chicago office of Sard Verbinnen & Company, a financial communications firm.
From there I moved to global agency Ketchum where I was a Partner and Managing Director of the Midwest office before heading the agency’s Corporate Practice in North America.
Wanting to focus on select consulting assignments and teaching, I decided in the Summer of 2011 to hang up my own shingle – Culp & Co. – and I also teach and serve as professional director of the graduate PR and advertising program at DePaul University.