In 2013, PRWeek debuted a Hall of Fame to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to the development of the communications industry.
Celebrating its fourth year, PRWeek inducted a new class of inspiring leaders into the Hall of Fame with a night of festivities on Monday, December 5 to recognize these six masters of PR and the profound impact they've made on the industry.
Margaret Booth, founder,M Booth & Associates
- Margi Booth is a classic New York PR pioneer and entrepreneur. She started out as an assistant in Ruder Finn's television/radio department and helped book clients onto TV talk shows. When it was slow, she was also the receptionist. Booth worked her way up to become a VP at Ruder Finn, heading that very same broadcast department, and then became president of Public Interest Public Relations in 1977. In 1985, she founded her eponymous firm M Booth with a view to creating innovative communications programs for consumer, lifestyle, and corporate brands. Under her leadership, the agency’s client roster grew to include American Express, Unilever, Google, GE, Mercedes-Benz, and Godiva, among others. In 2009, M Booth was acquired by Next Fifteen Communications and Booth assumed the role of AWC (Active Working Chairman), setting the firm’s strategic direction, client counseling, and new business.
Lisa Caputo, EVP and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, The Travelers Companies, Inc.
Lisa Caputo is one of those rare communications professionals who made the fundamental extra step in crossing over to run the marketing department as well as PR at two high-profile global financial services companies. Caputo leads Travelers’ marketing, research, corporate communications, creative services, and customer experience functions. She joined the financial services company after over 11 years at Citigroup, where she was Citi's first corporate CMO and led global marketing, public affairs, and community relations as EVP, global marketing and corporate affairs. She founded Citi's leading women's financial services business, Women & Co., and was its chairman and CEO from 2000 to 2010. Caputo also held senior executive marketing and communications positions at The Walt Disney Company and CBS Corporation. Before joining Citi, Caputo was VP of global communications and synergy for Disney Publishing Worldwide, from 1998-1999.
David Drobis, former CEO, Ketchum
- A pioneer in the PR industry, David Drobis joined Ketchum in 1967 and rose from account executive to CEO. During his 36-year run, he helped grow the now Omnicom-owned firm from a single office in Pittsburgh and established its significant global presence.
His high-profile clients included Heinz, Stouffer Foods, Weight Watcher’s International, Clorox, Kikkoman, FedEx, Miller Brewing, Wendy’s, Genentech, Johnson & Johnson, and Dow Chemical. In 1996, Ketchum Communications, including its advertising and PR businesses, was acquired by Omnicom. Over time the advertising unit was absorbed into other Omnicom companies but the PR firm thrived and became a top-10 agency.
Drobis gave up the position of CEO of Ketchum in 2000, replaced by Ray Kotcher and he retired from the firm in January 2004, but stayed on as chairman emeritus and a consultant to the agency.
Steve Harris, partner, McGinn and Company, former VP, global communications, General Motors
- Steve Harris is a genuine automotive communications legend who is named as a mentor by many individuals in the close-knit sector. General Motors thought so highly of Harris that the embattled auto giant brought him back in 2014 as a temporary consultant to advise the company on its faulty ignition switch recall crisis.
- Harris advised CEO Mary Barra and consulted on the running of the communications department while GM searched for a permanent PR lead, ultimately settling on one of Harris’ mentees and protégés, Tony Cervone. Harris held the automaker's top communications spot on two separate occasions, including during 2009 when the company descended into bankruptcy.
- He came out of retirement in March 2006 at the behest of then-CEO Rick Wagoner and led global communications through July 2009. Prior to that, Harris was GM's VP of communications from 1999 until 2003, before he retired.
John Onoda, senior consultant, FleishmanHillard, formerly at Charles Schwab, Visa, Levi Strauss, GM, McDonald's
- John Onoda is a 30-year veteran of corporate communications who has represented a diverse array of blue-chip clients in numerous business sectors.
Onoda led corporate communications for General Motors, Charles Schwab, Visa USA, and Levi Strauss. Prior to that, he oversaw global media relations for McDonald’s, Holiday Inn, and Harrah’s Casinos.
Like many PR pros, Onoda started out as a journalist, reporting for the Omaha World-Herald in Omaha, Nebraska, which he left after a year to work for The Houston Chronicle, the largest newspaper in the South. In the next four years, he worked the major news beats, including city hall, crime, and transportation, and also did investigative reports.
His first job in PR was working for Mitchell Energy & Development Corp., which at the time, the 1980s, was the largest independent oil and gas company.
Patrice Tanaka, co-founder, Patrice Tanaka & Company, CRT/Tanaka and PadillaCRT
- Born in Hawaii, Patrice Tanaka’s career is a tribute to the power of positive thinking and inspiration, culminating in a long and entrepreneurial career in the PR agency sector in the industry’s capital: New York City.
Her eponymous full-service PR firm, Patrice Tanaka & Company, was founded in 1990 and based in New York. Tanaka led a group of colleagues in a management buyback from Chiat/Day Advertising to cofound the employee-owned PR agency with 12 colleagues. Clients included Mercedes-Benz USA, Target, and Charles Schwab.
Carter Ryley Thomas Public Relations & Marketing acquired Patrice Tanaka & Co. in 2005, creating a 72-strong firm called CRT/Tanaka with then combined revenues of $10.5 million.
In 2013, Padilla Speer Beardsley acquired CRT/tanaka and the firm was renamed PadillaCRT, with Tanaka as chief counselor and creative strategist. Last year, Tanaka departed the firm to launch career coaching company Joyful Planet.
Date: Monday, December 5
Time: 6 - 9pm ET
Venue: Grand Hyatt (Manhattan Ballroom), Grand Central, New York
Cost: Table of 10 - $4,550
Half table (seats 5) - $2,325
Individual ticket - $485