The ACLU’s Michele Moore is a comms professional with a 25-year track record of leadership that spans media relations, crisis communications, public affairs and brand marketing for nonprofits, government, Fortune 500 companies and academia.
Since November 2017, Moore has directed the ACLU’s public messaging in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election, helping position the organization to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person by the constitution and laws of the United States.
What would your advice be for a young person entering PR in 2020?
Communications has evolved beyond stellar press coverage and social media engagement. A young PR professional should learn about different aspects of influencing audiences from branding, audience research, content strategies, and talent relations to events, production, emerging platforms and cultural trends.
Keep learning and never presume you know everything about an audience — even your own demographic.
What role should the industry play in government, society and business?
It feels like we have reached a tipping point. Technologies connect us faster while perpetuating echo chambers that amplify our own beliefs — creating more division and intolerance. There is less room for truthful conversations that discover the common ground in our humanity that lead to change.
Our industry is full of master storytellers. We operate across politics, business and culture. We can apply these same skills to create narratives that reinforce core human truths that connect us. PR pros can bridge these sectors for purposeful conversations and active solutions on everything from diversity and slowing climate change to economic opportunity.
How are the founding principles of PR relevant in today’s fast-moving and febrile communications environment?
The desire to change audiences’ perceptions about a person, company, product or institution is in the DNA of the PR person. The founding principles of PR are as relevant today as they have ever been. We’ve just magnified the number of platforms and vehicles where we have to communicate. It’s still compelling stories that cut through, emotionally resonate and, hopefully, influence audience attitudes and behaviors.
What is the role of PR in maintaining fundamental freedom and civil liberty?
Earned media is critical to how people understand what’s at stake in society and the incidents that threaten our civil liberties and rights everyday across the nation. PR is essential in helping connect journalists with the people, experts, data and facts that tell often heart-wrenching stories about what’s happening and what people can actually do to help protect our democracy.
What were the main lessons you learned in helping New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina?
Katrina was a tragedy and devastated this incredible, vibrant community that I had known and loved since the early ’90s. I became involved with a nonprofit, the Institute for Women and Ethnic Studies (IWES), which provided trauma-related mental health services to schoolchildren after the hurricane. Ten years after Katrina, IWES released a study about the effects of emotional trauma on children who were now teens.
I learned that with natural disasters, we tend to think of recovery as the physical rebuilding of cities, but not rebuilding the necessary healthcare systems to address the emotional turmoil survivors experience for decades — communities need both to truly recover.
How do you relax?
I play golf and love music, movies and dining with friends.
Which three people, living or dead, would you like to host at a dinner party?
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because he was a prophet. Jesus Christ because he probably knows everything. Richard Pryor because he’d have so much to say to the other two guys.