Episode 11 of Circle of Fellows will explore the perils and payoffs of communicating a company’s position on social and environmental issues. The live broadcast is scheduled for noon Eastern on Wednesday, July 27.
A growing body of research suggests companies and their leaders can no longer remain neutral about societal issues. Companies like Target, Walmart, Salesforce, Duke Energy, The Walt Disney Company, Hilton, Bank of America, and many others have expressed support for one side of a contentious political debate, an action that could alienate customers, suppliers, and employees on the other side of the issue. Some experts advise remaining neutral, though studies including the Edelman Trust Barometer make it clear that consumers increasingly expect companies to be active in addressing societal inequities and the Melbourne Mandate asks communicators to act as the conscience of the corporation.
An equally large number of studies reinforce the need for companies to go beyond “greenwashing” when it comes to communicating their environmental activities and positions. These dicey issues will be the focus of discussion among four IABC Fellows who will also answer questions from the audience.
- John Gerstner — John is a strategic communications leader whose work has spanned 30 years and 30 countries on five continents. He has career experience as an internal communications and intranet manager, consultant, marketer, website developer, video producer, book author, magazine editor, photo-journalist, conference producer, radio announcer and public speaker. He is CEO and founder of Communitelligence, an online learning community for corporate communicators. Previously he managed diverse communication assignments at John Deere. These included launching John Deere’s internal communication program and intranet, serving as the company’s first manager of environmental and safety communications and authoring an award-winning coffee-table history book, Genuine Value: The John Deere Journey.
- James E. Lukaszewski, America’s Crisis Guru ®, is a bestselling author, national speaker, and trusted strategic advisor to FPO and NPO business operators and leaders during crises, disasters, reputation attacks, contentiousness and when the boss’s future is at stake. Corporate Legal Times listed him as “one of 22 crisis counselors to have in your speed dial when all hell breaks loose.” For more than 30 years, he has confidentially guided hundreds of company leaders thru tough, touchy, sensitive situations. Lukaszewski’s strategies inspire constructive, ethical problem resolving management behavior. A powerful and inspirational speaker, he teaches executives and managers the lessons he has learned. A prolific author, he is quoted and interviewed often as one of the most recognizable leaders in his profession
- Ned Lundquist served on active duty with the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer and as a Public Affairs Officer. His last tour of duty was as commanding officer of the 450 men and women of the Naval Media Center in Washington, DC, where he published the Navy’s flagship magazine, produced the award-winning weekly TV show, and was responsible for Navy internal relations, video production, broadcasting and visual information. Today, he works for MCR Federal LLC as a senior science writer. Heck, he’s the only science writer. He supports clients such as the Office of Naval Research, NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation, and commercial companies serving the naval, maritime and defense sectors.
- George McGrath — Founder and managing principal of McGrath Business Communications, which helps clients build winning corporate reputations, promote their products and services, and advance their views on key issues. George brings more than 25 years in PR and public affairs to his firm. Over the course of his career, he has held senior management positions at leading strategic communications and integrated marketing agencies including Hill and Knowlton, Carl Byoir & Associates, and Brouillard Communications.