Industry work force offers best example of how PR is evolving

This month's issue includes a feature titled "A day in the life", which profiles five PR and communications executives from agency and corporate practices.

This month's issue includes a feature titled "A day in the life", which profiles five PR and communications executives from agency and corporate practices.

And as interesting as you will certainly find this look into the workdays of these professionals, the feature speaks as much to the current reality of there being no such thing as a traditional role in PR these days, whether at an agency or in a corporate setting - new positions are being defined by new business needs. And, contrary to popular thinking, these changing roles reach beyond the social media and digital space.

For this particular quintet of thought leaders, a typical day simply does not exist. For example, Chad Tragakis, Hill & Knowlton's SVP and CSR lead, might be advising a global NGO in Kenya or coordinating the agency's own pro bono work.

A common trait among our feature subjects is their dedication to the job. Maggie FitzPatrick, CCO at Cigna, has flipped the workday on its ear - instead of 9 to 5, she works almost 5 to 9. And her role, like most of today's corporate communications pros, stretches across big-picture issues such as job creation and helping solve challenges in the healthcare system.

Just as roles are changing, the career histories of some of the individuals we profiled take a step outside the traditional PR skill set. For instance, before becoming senior PR manager for the Americas, Canada and Brazil for LinkedIn, Krista Canfield chased tornadoes as a reporter in South Dakota.

And, as different as this group seems, there is a common thread that connects them all - they are all clearly passionate about what they do. William Brent actually launched the cleantech practice at Weber Shandwick, where he is now EVP. Moreover, his belief in what he is doing extends into structuring his own personal life around sustainability and his goal to make cleantech mainstream.

From the staff perspective here at PRWeek, it was a refreshing change of pace to focus a feature more on the people of PR rather than the issues. It was equally rewarding to add insight into the personalities behind the business cards. The only difficult part was choosing just five people.

Bernadette Casey is the senior editor of PRWeek. She can be contacted at bernadette.casey@prweek.com.

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