Stephen O’Keeffe, the founder of McLean, VA-based O’Keeffe & Company, likes beer and F. Scott Fitzgerald - not entirely uncommon for a former journalist. But he’s also passionate about the PR profession and what it should and should not be doing on behalf of clients.
Stephen O’Keeffe, the founder of McLean, VA-based O’Keeffe &
Company, likes beer and F. Scott Fitzgerald - not entirely uncommon for
a former journalist. But he’s also passionate about the PR profession
and what it should and should not be doing on behalf of clients.
How did you get into PR?
I fell to the dark side from journalism.
What would you like to change about the PR industry?
Dispel the perception that the qualification for being a PR pro is
’being good with people,’ and improve the vocational focus of college
Who will be the PR industry’s next big hero, and why?
Doubtless the upcoming presidential election will throw up a new George
How do you make a difference?
I am dedicated to cutting through the antiquated, hierarchical
structures of traditional PR agencies. We are unique in that our
professionals do not have titles; O’Keeffe & Company is a horizontal
agency. We’ve instilled in our employees a clear understanding of the
difference between tactics and deliverables.
How did you get where you are today?
I listen and do not try to be the smartest guy in the room all the
What will be the next big thing to hit PR?
A tighter linkage to management consulting and IR. Our business is about
understanding the ’business’ challenges of clients. Increasingly,
clients are asking for our input on investor communications issues, as
well as pricing, channel strategies and research to support future
What is the best invention of all time?
Do you have a secret daily pleasure?
Is this a question about my sexual proclivities?
What do you hate most?
People who do that annoying quote-mark thing with their index and middle
finger when talking. When I die, my tombstone will say, ’Here lies a man
who never did that annoying thing with his index and middle finger.’
With which historical figure do you identify?
F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Name some things about your past that people would be surprised to
I came to the states from Great Britain to play soccer, I once worked as
a nanny and I couldn’t get hired as a night watchman.
What is the secret of your success?
I am extraordinarily average at everything.
My best ability is multi-tasking.