-Michelle Baker, EVP and MD of corporate strategic initiatives and public health, Ketchum
-Jim Joseph, CEO, US and global chief marketing & integration officer, Ketchum
-Dawn Shedrick, founder and CEO, JenTex Training & Consulting; faculty member, Columbia University's School of Social Work; consultant for Ketchum
“Trauma is pervasive in our culture and in society. We need to do everything we can to not add to that.” Those thoughts are shared by Ketchum’s Michelle Baker, who played an integral role in the ideation and creation of the agency’s Trauma Informed Consultancy. And the quote captures one main reason why it was created.
Ketchum’s U.S. CEO Jim Joseph is quick to add another.PR is about putting out messages and “making sure your audiences receive it in the way it was intended and get value out of it,” he explains. “It’s crucial to look at this through a contemporary lens. Right now – and in the foreseeable future – that lens in a trauma-informed lens.”And the first audience to whom this message was shared was staff. As Joseph notes, that was the only way to get started.
“We felt a duty as a leader in the industry to bring this to our clients,” he notes, “but we quickly realized it needed to start internally.”It also has to be built around total inclusivity, counsels Dawn Shedrick, who is one of many leaders outside of PR brought in by Ketchum with a deep understanding of how trauma impacts everyone, particularly marginalized communities.
“The way we interpret events as being traumatic and the way we process the trauma is heavily influenced by our human experience,” she says. “Our upbringing. Our cultural foundation. Our gender identity. If you want to be inclusive, you need to be trauma informed.
As the trio continues speaking with PRWeek’s Gideon Fidelzeid, it becomes increasingly evident how the consultancy works, both internally and externally, and how it is meant to informs all of the key relationships PR has with every key audience. More than that, though, this podcast makes clear that a must-have for every effective communicator is a better and always-evolving understanding of trauma.