We all know the old adage: "Advertising you pay for; PR you pray

for." Well here's the man who took this more to heart than most. Meet

Dale Chrisman, principal of Austin's 17-year-old PR firm The Chrisman


Tell us something interesting about yourself In addition to running my

full-time PR practice, I am a Lay Vicar in St. James' Episcopal Church

in Taylor, TX. I conduct Sunday services, preach the sermon, conduct

funerals, do hospital and nursing home visitations, and counsel

parishioners. My PR experience was an integral part of my qualifications

to answer this call.

How did you get into PR? I was a pre-med major in college with a goal of

being a pediatrician. Let's just say I didn't do real well and let it go

at that. I met a professor who taught PR who asked me what I enjoyed. I

told him psychology, anthropology, sociology, English, and history. He

said PR combined all those subjects and I should take one of his


What is your greatest achievement? Handling two school bond elections

for one of the poorest school districts in Texas. Both bond elections -

totaling dollars 120 million - passed with 75% approval. These children

had the most substandard school facilities. The district is very low

income with a high minority, non-English speaking population. We had

non-existent support from parents. The entire campaign was grassroots at

its most fundamental levels. This was PR that made a difference.

What was your biggest screw-up? When I was 25 I worked in a small agency

in Houston. The Muscular Dystrophy Association was a client and we

handled the annual Jerry Lewis Telethon. When Lewis himself visited

Houston I was to pick him up at the airport and be his escort for the

day. When we got to my car - a 1970 Ford Pinto - he was less than

enthusiastic and "requested" I arrange for a vehicle more fitting with

his stature. (A Pinto sounds about right to us - Ed.)

What's the most daring thing you've ever done? As part of my training as

a pre-med major in college, I worked for a year at the Austin State

Hospital for the mentally ill. I worked on the violent schizophrenic

ward and saved the lives of two men by doing CPR. One had a violent

seizure, the other was choking on food and had turned blue before I got

to him. No, I've never bungee-jumped or sky-dived or climbed Mount

Everest. Never have. Never will.

Write the headline for the story you would most like to read in PRWeek

"Companies invite PR pros to board table, tell lawyers to shut up and go


What is the secret of your success? You must be honest, conscientious,

and ethical in everything you do. Treat others as you want to be treated

and understand that God loves every single person in this world equally,

regardless of what they look, sound, or smell like.

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