Manager, public affairs, Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller's Rebekah Morgan, one of the youngest managers in Burson-Marsteller, understands the gravity of PR.
A large portion of Morgan's work is associated with labor negotiations and unions, a relatively new area of PR and one where confidentiality is required due to the sensitive nature of the work. She uses communications to "tell the company's story" and help things move along in the labor relations process.
"In labor negotiations, you're dealing with a lot of emotionally charged issues and companies that want to preserve their brand image as much as possible," says Morgan.
Morgan, 25, got her start working with crisis communications and grassroots development in Texas. Fresh out of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in corporate communications, Morgan began working for a Texas business association. She created a 45-page document discussing the healthcare crisis facing the state's small businesses that landed in the hands of state legislators and community leaders. Morgan was 21 years old.
"Working with the legislature and in issues management in Austin really helped her hone her skills," says Mike Lake, chairman of Burson's Southwest region. "She's able to take political campaign tactics and apply them into the corporate environment."
She began working with Burson's Dallas office in 2005, and is one of the youngest managers at the firm. In this position, she serves more than just her clients. The company, the union, families, the media, and investors are just some of the groups that she has to consider when pulling together a strategy.
"In this industry, you have the benefit of putting together campaigns like a puzzle," says Morgan. "You have to build a campaign that takes all of these people into account."
Thus far in her career, she has worked on a corporate social responsibility program for a major tobacco company, implemented a program for a steel company in contentious negotiation with a labor union, and developed a crisis program for a hospital after a child died from an organ transplant error.
But not all of her work is of so grave in nature. Her PR efforts for Accenture at the 2006 World Congress on Information Technology was media-focused: get Accenture media attention during an event that was saturated with big names like Intel and Dell. She succeeded, getting coverage from more than 20 international outlets.
"Normally, I don't have clients that are a straight-pitch focus," says Morgan. "It was interesting to work with reporters from all over the world."
Despite the stressors of her typical work, Morgan says she loves her job and her clients.
"I feel like my clients know that they can call me anytime and I'd be ready to work to get whatever questions they need answered," she says.
Lake agrees. "Rebekah is ‘24-7, 365'; she's always available."