Doing the Hard Thing in a Diverse World with Dr. Felicia Blow [Podcast]

Doing the Hard Thing in a Diverse World with Dr. Felicia Blow [Podcast]

On the PR Talk Podcast today, Amy chats with Dr. Felicia Blow, APR, Associate Vice President for Development at Hampton University and PRSA’s 2022 National Chair. Together, they discuss the challenges of communication work and explore how communicators can unite others to do what’s necessary, even when it’s hard. 

Remembering Other DEI Dimensions

Amy sets the tone for her conversation with Dr. Felicia Blow by asking her about a Muck Rack blog post in which she outlined how businesses need to prioritize all the varying dimensions of diversity, including: ability, economic status, education, age and more, as the tightening of the workforce continues. This shift in priorities means that CEOs will need to communicate to all audience dimensions effectively, Dr. Blow explained in response to Amy’s question, highlighting that businesses can improve relationships by leveraging the PR practitioner’s ability to deeply understand constituents. 


Bringing Value Beyond Transactions

The two went on to discuss how communicators don’t simply sell a product, they “do the hard thing” by bringing long-term value to a company. By understanding both their audience and the business, the PR pro’s strength involves engaging both sides while following a set of rules. The PRSA code of ethics ensures businesses operate in an honest and transparent manner — free from harmful practices or misleading messaging — which ultimately builds trust.


Doing The Hard Thing

Dr. Blow reminds us that effective communication involves continual learning and growth to connect with individuals across all dimensions of diversity. In addition to honesty and conducting thorough research, maintaining a fresh perspective is another challenging aspect of communication, especially in an ever-evolving industry where correct language and proper actions constantly change. In today’s “cancel culture,” where people can be quickly judged and criticized for ignorance, it’s even more crucial to dig deeper into DEI practices and continually ask questions (aka, doing the hard thing). A PR pro can provide a team with the right resources for this landscape.

Tune in now to discover more about the challenging aspects of PR work, including measurement. Also mentioned in the episode was PRSA’s new book: “75 Years of Impact and Influence: People, Places and Moments In Public Relations History,” which dives into the evolution of PR efforts over the past 75 years. It’s worth checking out!

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About the Guest: Dr. Felicia Blow

Dr. Felicia Blow, APR, is an award-winning leader with extensive organizational, fundraising, strategic planning, leadership and management experience. With a 30-year career, Dr. Blow has taken on several leadership roles within PRSA. Before serving as chair in 2022, she served as chair-elect in 2021. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and numerous other business, economic development, and community service organizations. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mass media arts from Hampton University, her master’s in business administration from Strayer University, and her doctorate in higher education administration from Old Dominion University.

Bio of Dr. Felicia Blow

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This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

My Coronavirus Cop-Out

My Coronavirus Cop-Out

I used to be American. In a shameless blog post I once wrote, but never posted, I bragged that I’d never taken a sick day. I qualified this by accounting the time I’d worked through the worst stomach bug I’d ever had: the norovirus. Laying on the floor, I shot off emails in between stomach cramps that doubled me over. 

While searching for blog starts left unfinished, I came across this story of pushing myself through pain, like my very own torturer. What kind of person pushes unrelentingly and then brags about it, no less? 

An American. That’s who.

While working to help rebrand a DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) company, I learned about the American way of rugged individualismwhich holds constant achievement, along with a die-hard work ethic, as hallmark values.

Pitying those who fit this description, I’ve slowly come to realize that I am one of them. However, new books, podcasts and influencers have brought me to the truth, which is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Yet, old habits die hard.

When the pandemic hit, I reverted back to pushing myself, but this time at a deeper level, driven by an internal fear about my place within a volatile market. Over-working, over-delivering, over-compensatingfor nothing other than leftover insecurities.

Spiraling in self-pity, I wanted out. But my regressed patterns told me I needed permission to rest. The only permission I could imagine was getting the coronavirus. This was before the vaccine, when morgues lined city streets. I saw the young mothers on the news, hooked up to ventilators, fighting for breath. And yet, I secretly wanted the coronavirus.

Eventually unraveling myself, I found different ways of existing within my home’s new patterns. A new meditation spot and online exercise outlet eased my self-imposed over-delivery system.

And I did end up getting sick, as the immunocompromised often will, but never with the coronavirus. I worked through some of the milder parts of the sickness, never fully taking a day off other than holidays. Feeling dragged down, I held onto my secret wish of catching the dreaded bug. Only then would I have the permission, given by an unknown Dictator of Expectations, to rest.

But Omicron’s mild-mannered ways have enabled workers across the nation to continue from the safety of their own homes, even returning to work after a mere five days, symptom-free or not, depending on the industry. Thank you America.

This has come closer to home than news reports of hospital staff working through the illness. Acquaintances and business contacts, none of them with the Veracity team, have been showing up in Zoom calls and phone calls with the bug, sometimes giving off a sense of American pride.

Possibly I should be grateful for their dedication to our collective work. And I understand the need to keep pushing on. But my excuse from the grind has been stripped away. Afterall, my Dictator of Expectations will remember every one of these instances, comparing my performance to that of others.

But what if I refuse to fall into this trap, this American way of being? Sometimes, when I tire of the constant pushing, I imagine myself on a beach in Mexico, replacing the hustle with peace. Although, my un-fucking-shakable work ethic reminds me of one very key thing. I love my job. I love my clients. I love my team. It’s just my mind that needs to change. Therefore, I’m striving to ease my American grit, put my Dictator of Expectations on notice, and plan a relocation to Mexico, if only in my mind.

Featured image courtesy of engin akyurt via Unsplash

How to Use Your Inner GPS in the Workplace with Deirdre Breakenridge [Podcast]

How to Use Your Inner GPS in the Workplace with Deirdre Breakenridge [Podcast]

We have all been faced with an ethical dilemma in the workplace at one point or another and may not have known exactly how to handle it, so Amy invited Deirdre Breakenridge to join the PR Talk podcast and speak about what ethics are, why you need to define yours, and how to put them into action.

Deirdre is the CEO of Pure Performance Communications and author of seven books, most recently “Answers for Ethical Marketers,” which is part of her “answer” book series for communicators. She also took on a 52+ week research journey and passion project to build a model to address the disconnect in intergenerational communications. More on that later.

If you want to know more about ethical decision making, but don’t know how to address it, you’re in luck. Amy asked Deirdre a slew of questions about ethics, including: how to evaluate ethical behavior in the office, what to do when you’ve made a mistake and much more!

The Frequent Ethical Dilemma

Deirdre tells Amy that the inspiration for her latest book came from the influx of questions fellow communicators were sending her about ethics. The most common questions were:

“What do I do when I feel something’s not right, but don’t want to speak up because I might lose my job?”, “Who holds ethical responsibility in a corporation?” and “How do I tell a peer that they aren’t moving forward with the best judgement?”

In order to answer any of these questions, Deidre says we need to step back, rethink and gain perspective from those we admire. We cannot give into pressure to react too quickly.

But first it might help us to understand how breakdowns in ethical behavior originate. Stress, groupthink and new scenarios that we never imagined would happen are all triggers. Deirdre’s advice under these circumstances is to step back, rethink and gain perspective from those we admire. We cannot give into pressure to react too quickly. 

Deidre’s advice to those faced with values that misalign with just one person is to try moving into a new team or department within the company. If the problem is larger than that, reevaluate if you belong. Don’t compromise your integrity or your reputation as a professional by remaining in an organization that doesn’t act in ways you agree with.


Follow the Voice of your Inner GPS

We all have an inner ethics GPS with us at all times. It’s that little voice inside that tells you right from wrong. The classic devil and angel sitting on our shoulders advising us what to do. However, overwhelm and stress can take us away from our values. It takes work, but we need to tap into our gut or “GPS” to be aware of our feelings. Deidre talks about how self care can lead to clarity in our ethics. This can be simply taking deep breaths, doing some yoga or reading a book. Focusing on self care can help you gauge what a situation is and how to handle it.


30 Second Value Challenge

Amy and Deidre talked about how professionals should be able to define and share their personal values in 30 seconds. Similar to the elevator pitch that we were taught in college. Keep your values in the forefront of your mind to gut check against work situations. Ethics and values start with you! Before you can follow a company’s ethics, you must follow your own. 


Deirdre’s FEEL First Model

Towards the end of the conversation about ethics, Amy wanted to learn about Deirdre’s FEEL first model, which stands for: “Face your Fears, engage with Empathy, use Ethics and good judgment and unleash the Love of your mission across communication channels.” Deidre tells Amy that if you feel first, you will be much more likely to tune into what somebody else is feeling. Communicators prioritize relationships, so put a lens of FEEL at every touchpoint to obtain a much deeper relationship with your customers. Go to to take Deidre’s 32 questions FEEL test to learn what exercises you can do to prioritize feelings and love. 



Deirdre also wrote a children’s book called “A Whisper from Noelle” which helps parents and their kids explore feelings together. Go to to learn more.

Amy and Deirdre touched on so many other important topics relating to ethics including how to navigate a new job with ethics that oppose your own and what to do when you’ve made an ethical mistake. Don’t miss out on a conversation that could help you protect your integrity and reputation!


Don’t Miss an Episode

You can access more great episodes by subscribing to the PR Talk podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio and Spotify.

About the guest: Deirdre Breakenridge

Deirdre has been a career-long storyteller working with professionals to ignite their communication, lead pressing media conversations, and build relationships resulting in business impact. As a PR and marketing strategist and CEO of Pure Performance Communications, her focus is strategic planning and relationship building that results in business impact. She has launched marketing and PR programs (from Fortune 500 to startups) delivering creative, passionate and bold stories that help brands and their thought leaders to be seen and heard and to build genuine relationships with their stakeholder groups. Her current passion project is the FEEL First model that bridges the communication gap between business leaders and millennials. Check out more of her work at

Connect and follow Deirdre on social media:

Deirdre Breakenridge on PR Talk

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Role of Ethics in Marketing [Minicast]

Role of Ethics in Marketing [Minicast]

The Role of Ethics in Marketing

I was asked to join an AMA-PDX panel discussion event on the Role of Ethics in Marketing. Listen to this minicast for a sneak peek on one of the topics, “Fake News”, and attend the FREE event on Thursday, January 17 at UO Portland.

In addition to a discussion around Fake News, we share details of the upcoming Oregon Ethics in Business Awards. Read more about our take on Fake News: A Dangerous Accusation for the PR Industry.

The Role of Ethics in Marketing at UO Portland

Mike Rosenberg will join Nick Footer, CEO of Intuitive Digital and Deb Hatcher, Founder, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer of A to Z Wineworks on a panel to discuss the role of ethics in marketing. Topics will include copyright issues, branding, the “fake news” movement, and understanding what information is reliable.

This free event is hosted by the American Marketing Association.


6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Doors open at 6 pm
Networking 6 – 6:45 pm
Presentation 6:45 -7:30 pm
Networking 7:30 – 8 pm

January 17th

Hosted by UO SOJC Portland
2 drink tickets/person
Hors-d’oeuvres & dessert

University of Oregon in Portland

Main Event Room
70 NW Couch Street
Portland, OR 97209

The Role of Ethics in Marketing

At the University of Oregon in Portland – White Stag Block

Free Event

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Join Us Honoring Ethical Businesses

Join Us Honoring Ethical Businesses

Oregon Ethics in Business Awards

It shouldn’t be surprising that a company called Veracity supports ethical business practices. Veracity is proud to sponsor the Oregon Ethics in Business Awards, of which our CEO, Mike Rosenberg, is Chair. Congratulations to the impressive 2018 recipients:

  • KEEN, Les Schwab, The Portland Clinic
  • Fully, Lakeside Lumber, Tom Dwyer Automotive
  • Shriners Hospital for Children, Portland Children’s Museum, Habitat for Humanity.

We hope you’ll join us on May 23rd at the Oregon Ethics in Business Awards hosted by the Rotary Club of Portland and presented by KGW Media Group. Listen to Mike’s interview about the Awards & the Rotary on the Weekly Portland Podcast.

Oregon Ethics in Business Interview

Listen to an early episode of PR Talk for more in-depth information on the Oregon Ethics in Business Awards with longtime committee member and former committee Chair Dick Clark.

Fake News: A Dangerous Accusation for the PR Industry

Fake News: A Dangerous Accusation for the PR Industry

Journalists have stood by in trepidation watching newsrooms shrink for years. Consumption has slowly shifted from the classic newspaper delivery, drive time chatter of the past to stories magically appearing in our phones with the touch of a button. The digitization of media hasn’t left PR professionals unscathed. Shrinking newsrooms mean less contacts for us to cultivate relationships with. Entire sections of newspapers and television news programs are being cut — sliming our chances for earned media placement even further.

If we didn’t think that was enough to contend with, we now have the country’s most powerful leader bringing to question the validity of all journalists, not just fly-by-the-night YouTube commenters. Donald Trump has frequently dismissed news as being “fake.”

The issues stem far beyond accusations of inaccurate reporting. News outlets like CNN were recently kept out of a White House news conference, while NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, and several smaller conservative media outlets were granted access. How can information be given to one type of media outlet and not the other? Isn’t fair access to information the point of a news conference?

Journalists are fighting for a seat at the table and PR pros need to back them up. The calling card of the PR industry has always been that journalism is more valuable than advertising from a credibility standpoint. Sure, an advertisement lets you perfectly sculpt your message, but it falls on the deaf ears of savvy and skeptical consumers. Not only is PR oftentimes more affordable than advertising, it is more effective. A nod from a credible news source packs more punch than any advertising money could ever buy.

A conversation I had with a colleague has me worried about the industry. She too started a PR firm with her husband years ago but left the press release writing and journalist schmoozing work of PR behind, favoring instead the creativity of advertising and the flexibility of content marketing. When I asked her why they weren’t focusing on PR anymore she said it was too hard. Not only weren’t there as many contacts to pitch, some of the newspapers she used to land stories in didn’t even exist anymore.

“Do you have access to a million dollars you can embezzle?” her husband jokingly stated his response when prospective clients inquire about getting on the first page of publications like the New York Times. “Because that is how much the hourly fee would cost to get that done,” he emphasized.

The Times also recently resorted to advertising rather than rely on its own journalistic messaging. A dramatic commercial highlighting the dangers of dubbing all news “fake news” premiered at the Oscars Sunday evening. Apparently one of the most revered newspapers in the world felt that their worth could no longer be displayed within their stories. The message being so important that it needed the control and impact of the wide audience that only advertising at the Oscars could bring.

There has been speculation as to whether or not the ad worked. If driving more subscriptions and garnering potential advertising interest was the point, I would say that it worked. Not that I have sales figures, but people are talking. It’s generating its own kind of PR coverage all by itself. Interestingly, Donald Trump’s visible reaction via Twitter calls more attention to the ad, driving more clicks, queries and conversations.

However, much like PR, the intended consequence of advertising doesn’t always have to be sales. If the point was to cement the validity of journalism and news, did the ad hit the mark? A recent article by Forbes begs to differ. Contributor Avi Dan writes that the Oscar audience for which it was written did not stray enough into the blue collar realm, instead playing to an already familiar, likeminded Hollywood audience. Not exactly following the guidance of what the Times Executive Editor, Dean Baquet, said after the election — that traditional news needed to break out of the confines of comfortable audiences to have an impact.

Dan called for the need to look past New York’s bubble and reach a different type of demographic, like the blue collar set. But who’s to say the blue collar demographic wasn’t watching the Oscars? Might this be another example of the educated judging those who are different? The commercial aired Sunday night. I don’t know too many construction sites or factories that are open at that time.

As far as the ad’s creative strategy goes, Dan’s point-of-view is intriguing. “The strategy is uninspired — it suggests the public should rely on the institution’s narrative…it is defensive, rather than visionary…The Times could be more mindful of the media’s ultimate role: providing a fair-minded elucidation, analysis and meaning for the information chaos that overwhelms even the smartest reader.” Dan points to a Guardian commercial that took this approach a few years ago by demonstrating how its reporters gather information from all sources to get to the truth.

Commentators (journalists who write columns or state their options on TV, radio and blogs) have been revered members of the free press for decades. There isn’t a lot of fact checking that goes into this style of journalism. Their opinions matter, as do everyone else’s. Opinions help people make decisions as important as where to raise their families or as trivial as where to eat dinner. Opinions are instrumental enough to help juries decide an accused criminal’s fate. We should all have access, not only to the truth, but to all kinds of opinions from the left and the right.

In a time when we’re unsure about what will happen next, we must be vigilant about obtaining fair access to information. Consumers then must decide if the information, coming from obscure websites or established organizations, is accurate. I personally trust my go-to news sources to turn over every leaf and uncover every stone on their way to accurate storytelling. This is of utmost importance not just to PR people who rely on the accuracy of the news to sell their worth, but for all of us.

Veracity can be the difference between delivering justice for all or creating hazy knowledge leading to ignorance.