Editors' Choice is but a small sample of PR's impact players

This week's Editors' Choice special allows us to reflect upon the impact that individuals, programs, and companies have in structuring our reporting of the industry.

This week's Editors' Choice special allows us to reflect upon the impact that individuals, programs, and companies have in structuring our reporting of the industry.

This is the third year we have run this section, and it was the hardest one yet to compile. Not because there were so few good stories and prospects out there, but because there are so many.

The list is not exhaustive, but representative. Each entry should speak not just for itself, but also for a theme that resonates across the industry. And, as always, there were more compelling stories to tell than space to tell them. Among those that space would not allow are Weber Shandwick, which has continued to evolve and grow, has made exciting hires in Leslie Gaines-Ross and Bonin Bough, and seems poised for another quantum leap. Its consistency, integrity, and talent make it a compelling story always.

New York-based Krupp Kommunications, eccentrically named and passionately led by Heidi Krupp, blew us away recently by explaining its brand-building philosophy, and by its smart decision to hire senior talent like VP Kelly Kimball, who joined from CAA and now oversees the firm's corporate efforts, and SVP Jim Eber, who manages consumer relations.

Andy Morris of Morris and King was one of the surprises of the year. Relatively unknown to us until 2006, he has a passion for the business that is exceptional, particularly related to the way PR is leading in the area of digital media. And the firm's end-of-year review of absurd Profnet enquiries was inspired.

One firm that is somewhat under the radar, no doubt due to the CEO change, is Fleishman-Hillard. We were reminded forcefully of the long-serving talent at this firm with the sudden death of Ed Presberg. Though I only met him a few times, it was easy to recognize him in John Graham's description as one who exemplified the firm's character and philosophy.

We did mention new CEO Dave Senay in the piece, but there is much more we'd like to learn about the firm's direction. For now, leaders like Curt Kundred, Peter Verrengia, and Karen Kaplan, who lead various regions, continue to stand out, even at a firm where collaboration, rather than star power, is the DNA.

Corporate leaders such as Raytheon's Pam Wickham, IBM's David Yaun, Heinz's Ted Smythe, Genentech's Mary Stutts, and The Cheesecake Factory's Howard Gordon were just a few of the people we interacted with last year who gave us a new perspective on the changing role of communications within organizations. They have been generous in sharing their views from inside, where communications is actively engaged in meeting business objectives.

This is still only a small sampling of PR's leading figures. Throughout the year, in every interaction we have with readers, we collect insights into the things your companies and clients seek - what's next, what's new, what do we need to know? We look forward to having these conversations with you in 2007.

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