On Tuesday of this week, I was honored to receive the Jack Felton Lifetime Achievment Award for 2019 from the Institute for PR. In case you’re curious, here were my remarks:
There’s a certain irony in the fact that I’m receiving this award for a lifetime contribution in the advancement of research, given that former journalists and history majors like myself aren’t known for their quantitative math skills and that the only statistics I ever took was part of a mandatory Psych 101 course at Connecticut College that I barely passed.
Which is why I am so thrilled that Dr. Stacks would do me the honor of introducing me. If it weren’t for him and Jack Felton and the amazing people I met through the IPR Measurement Commission, the IPRRC and all those roundtables in Miami and Orlando, I couldn’t be standing here.
Honestly, in those early meetings that Jack Felton called to talk about standards for PR measurement, when folks like Don, and Don and Jim Grunig would start talking theory, I could barely follow the conversation. But as they say, I persisted. And I read Don’s book, and then reread it and read it again and slogged through a lot of research papers until I had that aha moment when I understood that what I was reading was the academic proof that my clients needed to be convinced that they could do things better. That someone had done research that indicated that if they followed my advice, it would work.
So thank you Don and Jack and the Institute for PR for providing me the education and enlightenment that enabled me to continue to push the measurement envelope. I’m sure there were times when I’m they regretted the measurement zealot that they helped create. But if I learned one thing from Jack Felton, it was that with enough passion and fervor you can make change, that if you just keep beating your head against the proverbial wall, writing enough blog posts and sending those tweets, things can change. Proven results over time will overcome entrenched opposition.
And finally, I hope that my standing here today will inspire another generation of provocateurs (I can see your eyes rolling guys) that will challenge assumptions, callout bad practices, question authority and when learn from the failures that your research reveals. Being a professional provocateur keeps life interesting, and it also can lead you to some amazing places. Like being at this podium tonight.