Ethical Voices is a blog and podcast more than 20 years in the making.
In September 2018, after 23 years working for Schwartz Communications and MSL consistently growing practices and winning awards, due to the corporate consolidation to one P&L, the company eliminated some senior positions and mine was one of them. I have no complaints, it is the reality of agency life and they treated me fairly.
I am very proud of the work I did with my clients and teams while there and the transformation and disruption we accomplished over the decades. Together, we changed industries, saved lives, fought fraud, modernized payments and cost the Postal Service billions of dollars. Yes, I am partly to blame for the stamp price increases.
The good news is for the first time in my career I had the time to step back and think what do I really want to do with my life. What am I most passionate about.
I realized while yes, I want a job that leverages my skills I needed to do something more as well. I am proud of what I accomplished as 2016 PRSA National Chair and on the board. But that service is also behind me and concluded with my service as 2018 Nominating Committee Chair. Now I will still volunteer and help if asked, but I need to do more.
At the 2018 PRSA International Conference I had an epiphany. Diversity is one of the key issues facing our profession. The book Diverse Voices highlighted diverse voices in our profession.
The other key issue and challenge we face is ethics. Ethics has always been a passion of mine. I took every philosophy and political philosophy/ethics course I could in college. I have spoken in social ethics from Buffalo and San Diego to Huntsville and Boston.
As PR professionals we are the ethics guardians of our organizations. We regularly face difficult ethical choices. Too often media and TV do not portray us accurately.
PRSA and other Associations have codes of ethics, but too often the provisions are too high level or black and white. Many professors are doing great research in this area but we need more practical advice as well. Also, when I was chair I would complain that we couldn’t think of Ethics only one month a year we needed to do every day and every week.
Because of this I decided to launch a new venture – Ethicalvoices.com and addition to my communication consultancy – EV Strategic Communications. This will be a weekly blog and podcast that highlights a PR professional and one key ethical decision or challenge they faced in their career. It will showcase real stories, from real pros on real issues.
It will highlight voices at all stages of their careers, not just the biggest names. We need to highlight a diverse spectrum of the 200,000 pros that hold the line and the issues they face every day.
Hopefully these stories will provide practical real-world guidance and fresh perspectives and humanize the tenets of the many codes of ethics
The goal will be to deliver compelling conversations and Q&As than anyone can turn to. But hopefully it will have a larger impact and start to shatter some of the incorrect conventional wisdom surround this amazing profession.
Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. Feedback and questions are always welcome.
Mark W. McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA