Meeting/Event Information

The Journey to Becoming a Trusted Adviser

September 17, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


Our Chapter hosts PRSA’s 2018 Gold Anvil recipient Del Galloway, APR, Fellow PRSA, leading a panel discussion of respected, trusted advisors sharing their journey from public relations novice – with a desire to become a strategic counselor – to trusted advisor.

The group – all who have held national leadership roles with PRSA – will explore the attributes of a trusted advisor through personal stories and over a century of collective experience. The group will discuss multiple factors that move a professional into a sphere of significant leadership and influence in the modern COVID-reshaped world.
This fantastic panel includes:

Cheryl Procter-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA Cheryl Procter-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA; and President, A Step Ahead PR Consulting and Coaching
Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, Fellow PRSA Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, Fellow PRSA; and Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo & Company
 Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, Fellow PRSA; and Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo & Company  John Deveney, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, IABC Fellow John Deveney, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, IABC Fellow; and President, DEVENEY


Accidental Karma: The Journey to Become a Trusted Adviser

Del Galloway, APR, Fellow PRSA
September 2020

Public relations is an exciting, dynamic profession — one that’s often on the cutting-edge of issues, opportunities and challenges. Our profession has the power to shape ideas, forge opinions and advance civil society. It’s an awesome responsibility, and one we must treat with the care and respect it deserves. Now, in particular, we live in a time of great uncertainty. As we navigate a world disrupted – today and into the future – the counsel of public relations trusted advisers is central and critically important.

Successful, senior-level communicators are known as counselors, thought leaders and trusted advisers — honorifics I aspired to when I began my career. Now, after nearly 38 years in the profession, through the rough-and-tumble of time and experience, I have arrived at a revered and welcome place that guides my point of view: I have become a trusted adviser. Early in your own career — or as your career begins — you might have believed, as I did, that becoming a trusted adviser was elusive, out of reach. Not so, as I have since learned.

My career has crossed a variety of sectors — agency, corporate, nonprofit and academic — and included many fascinating assignments: among them, the launch of a multinational company, the North American introduction of a European beer (a particularly fun piece of business), and campaigns focused on education, the environment, health, financial security and LGBTQ+ equality.

Learning from other leaders

Today I recognize my good fortune even more clearly — I’ve learned from the best. Early in my career, I experienced world-class leadership through the examples of industry titans John Paluszek, APR, Fellow PRSA, public relations thought leader and long-time counselor and trusted adviser at Ketchum, as well as Marilyn Laurie, Dick Martin, Bob Schauer and others who led public relations at AT&T.

As head of communications at American Transtech, an AT&T business unit, I met and collaborated regularly with these folks. They showed me firsthand what leadership looks like: uncompromising ethics, integrity, good judgment and guts. They taught me how to counsel clients and make tough decisions, to inform and influence — in other words, how to lead.

My turning point on the road to becoming a trusted adviser came in the early 1990s, when a new leader who greatly valued public relations was named president and CEO of AT&T American Transtech. She made me part of her leadership team, reporting to her directly. It was then I realized my perspective was highly valued.

Through her example and those of other leaders — at AT&T, Wells Fargo, PRSA and peers I am fortunate to call friends — I’ve experienced leadership up-close. Those experiences inform who I am today and shape my point of view. In retrospect, I realize the role of trusted adviser had been forming in me for some time, as if by karma. I suspect it will take shape in many of you, too.

Here are insights that might help you become a trusted PR adviser and have a successful career and better life:

• Be curious. It’s much more important to be interested than interesting.
• Have and share a point of view. Doing so builds your credibility and self-confidence.
• Be your authentic self. When you’re comfortable in your own skin, it allows others to do the same. Be you, boo.
• Shape an organization’s culture. Recognize and navigate its current state and then positively influence its future.
• Be a “servant leader” — that is, one whose goal is to serve others. Invest in the common good by improving lives and strengthening communities.

Too, recognize that our profession is founded and grounded in the democratic principles reflected in our First Amendment and its freedoms: speech, press, assembly and petition. Thought leader and public relations legend Patrick Jackson, APR, Fellow PRSA, said years ago of our First Amendment:

"Why should PR professionals care about the First Amendment? We should care more than anyone because the Court of Public Opinion makes us the most important profession."


Heady stuff, right! Our profession influences the “Court of Public Opinion.” It’s a powerful responsibility worthy of our care and respect. In a world disrupted, the counsel of public relations trusted advisers is invaluable – now as never before.

I wish you well on your road to becoming a trusted adviser – as you create a bright future for yourself and our profession. The journey can be magical. Celebrate along the way.

Former PRSA Chairs Share Leadership Tips

During the PRSA 2019 International Conference in San Diego, Del Galloway, APR, Fellow PRSA, moderated a panel of respected PR executives sharing their journey from PR novice to trusted adviser. Through personal stories and nearly 160 years of collective experience, the group — all past national Board chairs of PRSA — explored the attributes of a trusted adviser, as well as discussed multiple factors that move a professional into a sphere of significant leadership and influence.

The panelists were Rosanna Fiske, APR, Fellow PRSA; Mickey Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA; and Cheryl Procter-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA.

Here are their tips to becoming a trusted adviser:

Be inquisitive. Ask insightful, tough questions.
Always be open to learning.
Be persistent and consistent. Stay on it and deliver.
Learn to listen really well.
Truly understand the client’s business.
Know your strengths and opportunities for growth.
Recognize your weaknesses and surround yourself with others with complementary talents.
Know when to push and when to pause; when to move fast and when to be more methodical and take your time.

The group also offered input on when you know that you’ve become a trusted adviser:

You’re asked to participate in meetings that aren’t necessarily about communications/PR.
You’re asked to stay back or to have a separate call regarding a meeting you attended to discuss further.
You’re asking questions that give the senior executive or leader pause.
You often bring something to the conversation that no one else has offered.
You’re asked to share your perspective with a team that’s beyond the industry or the company.
Legal calls you before they call the client/leader.
Peers seek your counsel.

Del Galloway, APR, Fellow PRSA Del Galloway, APR, Fellow PRSA, has a gift for connecting the dots between organizations and stakeholders, brands and consumers, and communities. He has learned when to push and when to pause. His 38-year career includes practice in the agency, corporate, nonprofit and academic sectors. In 2004, Galloway served as president and CEO of PRSA, which in 2018 honored him with its Gold Anvil Award, the Society’s highest individual honor recognizing lifetime achievement in public relations.


This program is sponsored by DEVENEY.



$10.00 PRSSA Member/ Student

$15.00 PRSA Member

$18.00 Non-Member

Future Meetings

Free APR Workshop (4 of 5)

December 01, 2020
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Details will be sent after you've registered.

Research, Planning, Implementing and Evaluating Programs (Part II). Managing Issues and Crisis Communications.

Read More    Register Now

Free APR Workshop (5 of 5)

December 08, 2020
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Details will be sent after you've registered.

Managing Relationships. Applying Ethics and Law.

Read More    Register Now

Build a Blueprint for Success!

December 10, 2020
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

Details will be sent after you've registered.

Now is the time to focus more strategically and prepare for a successful 2021!

Read More    Register Now