Questions & Answers: Rob Flaherty, Ketchum

Rob Flaherty, a senior partner and global practices director at Ketchum, had his mind set on a career in PR from the very outset.

Rob Flaherty, a senior partner and global practices director at Ketchum, had his mind set on a career in PR from the very outset. How that connects to his other passions?being a soccer dad, running competitively, drawing?we're not sure, but he's one of the key creative and administrative cogs in the Ketchum machine.

How did you get into PR?

Unlike many people who stumble into this business, I started focusing on it when I was 16. I asked one of my high school teachers, Dick Sawyer, what to do with my interests?writing, public speaking, political campaigning?and he suggested public relations.

What is your greatest frustration about this business?

I don't think we will have completely succeeded in this business until we allow our people to lead more reasonable lives. The structure and economics of the agency business remain a challenge in that area, but we're still trying.

What would you like to change about the PR industry?

I'd like to see far more pre- and post-evaluation of ideas and results. We need to increase our impact and relevance, which can only be achieved through more measurement.

What will be the next big thing to hit PR and why?

New competitors and how we define our competition. Other marketing communications agencies, interactive shops and management consultancies have discovered the power of direct communication, and they bring more measurement discipline to the table.

Which book are you reading at the moment?

The Lexus and The Olive Tree by Thomas L. Friedman. The subtitle is Understanding Globalization, but it's also a great book about strategic thinking.

What is your idea of perfect bliss?

Champagne with my wife and watching my kids succeed.

Any hobbies?

Running. I train for 5 and 10K road races, as well as coach soccer and travel with my family.

What is your favorite sport and who do you support?

Soccer. I root for the Stingrays and the Sharks (my son's and daughter's teams).

With which historical figure do you identify?

Samuel Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence. He tried to make a significant contribution, earn the respect of his rather impressive peers and enjoy a pint or two along the way.

What will you do when you retire?

Draw, paint, sculpt, visit my kids and offer crisis counsel to large, non-profit organizations.

Who do you most look like?

I've been told Al Gore. I'm waiting for the Secret Service to stop by to discuss stunt-double duty for his upcoming trip to Kosovo.

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