Growing up in a small Indiana town of 1,300, I seldom heard about professions beyond farming and teaching until I attended Indiana State University where I became editor of my campus newspaper, The Statesman. I began my career as a newspaper reporter for a small southern Indiana daily, The Columbus Republic. I loved that job and often encourage young people to consider reporting as an option for building a foundation for a PR career. After two years as a reporter, I became a press secretary for a state legislative leader (technically first PR job) and that led to working on campaigns in Indiana and New York. Following eight years in political public relations, I landed my first corporate PR job.
Here’s my career snapshot:
- Reporter, Columbus (Ind.) Republic (2 years)
- Press Secretary, Indiana House Majority Leader Richard Boehning, Indianapolis (1 yr.)
- Director, Member Services, New York State Assembly, Albany, NY (6 years)
- Manager, Media Relations and Communications, Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis (7 years)
- Director, Public Relations, Pitney Bowes Inc., Stamford, CT (2 years)
- Executive Director, Public Relations, Sara Lee Corporation, Chicago (7 years)
- Senior Vice President, Public Relations and Government Affairs, Sears, Roebuck and Co., Chicago (10 years)
- Partner & Managing Director, Sard Verbinnen and Company, Chicago (3 years)
- Partner & Managing Director, Ketchum Midwest & Director North America Corporate Practice (5 years)
- Founder and Principal, Culp & Co., public relations consultancy (current)
- Professional Director, Graduate PR and Advertising Program, DePaul University (current)
- I also have the good fortune to serve with many talented and generous people on the boards of the Lincoln Park Zoo, Gilda’s Club Chicago, Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, Economic Club of Chicago and the Indiana State Foundation.
More of my background is contained in a video interview series prepared by Ketchum.