Breakfast Briefing: 5 things for PR pros to know on Monday morning

2020 Health Influencer 50; CCO Kym White faces baptism by fire at CVS Health.

We can finally reveal who made the 2020 Health Influencer 50 list. While No. 1 on our list is Dr. Anthony Fauci, this year’s roster also includes business leaders and communicators who have shined during the pandemic, a big-name celebrity, politicians and even a TikTok star. The full list, which PRWeek produced with sister brand MM&M, can be found at www.healthinfluencer50.com. At a time when the U.S. and the world needs leadership defined by clear and effective communication, the roles of this year’s HI50 honorees “are crucial if we are to effectively roll out vaccines and reach a safe post-COVID future,” noted PRWeek’s Steve Barrett.

The pandemic influenced Kym White to join CVS Health. White, one of this year’s Health Influencer 50 honorees, said she took the top comms job there in April because she knew CVS Health “would be one of the few companies keeping its lights on when things were at their worst.” White told PRWeek what her whirlwind first 90 days were like, her internal and external comms strategy and focus, the company’s campaigns born out of the COVID-19 era and her plan to reorganize the comms team. 

Michael Dowling is not a doctor. But as president and CEO of Northwell Health — which runs 23 hospitals and numerous outpatient facilities in New York state — his prescription for fighting COVID-19 disinformation is as valid as that of any M.D. Dowling, also one of this year’s HI50 honorees, told PRWeek how he leaned on communications to quickly and accurately describe how his hospitals were dealing with the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House’s last-ditch effort to change the election. Arthur Schwartz, a New York PR man close to Donald Trump Jr., White House lawyer Eric Herschmann and a former deputy White House counsel Stefan Passantino met up in early October to launch a rescue mission for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. This included getting The Wall Street Journal to scoop Hunter Biden’s emails, but journalists at the paper were skeptical. The New York Times reported the inside story on the secret effort.

Where are they now?: Influencer edition. Remember Carter Wilkerson of Wendy’s #Nuggs4Carter fame? Looks like he might have a future career in marketing. He told PRWeek that he is now a marketing major at the University of San Diego. Wilkerson retweeted his own viral 2017 tweet to his professor on Sunday night as “a really fun example of engagement and social sharing capabilities/viral marketing that arose organically.”

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