Watch: Public Relations Agency
Q: You've worked in public relations for almost 30 years.
What prompted you to enter the field?
When I was 13 to 15 years
of age, I worked on a secret program called the 40-foot table. We made
repackaged small quantity supplies for home dialysis patients at Mount Sinai
Hospital in Los Angeles. Our efforts are recorded in the Congressional Record.
Even though I started out early in healthcare, I had no proactive idea that I
would enter the field. The first day I started looking for a job with my freshly
minted Journalism BA, I was offered an interview opportunity and then a job at
Saint John's Hospital and Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. It was such a great
experience that I remain very close friends with my co-worker and have just
completed a project with my former boss.
Q: The introduction
to your web site announces that your specialty is strategic health care PR,
investor relations and marketing. The whole field of health care PR is
relatively new. What did you do before and how did you segue into working for
companies and organizations such as Prudential HealthCare, Hyatt Medical
Enterprises and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center?
It's no secret
that I love working in the healthcare arena and that I love working in the
corporate world. I thrive on the immediacy, the high level of importance, and
the abundant need for flexibility. I started my own agency after I experienced a
corporate move for my husband, which forced me to leave my coveted position as
Director of PR for Prudential Healthcare Western Region.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I turn my
computer on at 7 a.m. to ensure that my East Coast clients have early access to
me. I work for an hour and then take my eight-year-old to school. When I return,
I stay connected to my laptop. My laptop has become my best friend!
First business of the day is to read the Sundry e-zines that provide me
with the latest and greatest in the world of healthcare - everything from
disease management, to technology, to insurance. I send my clients relevant news
articles so that they are well equipped to start their day with the "news of the
day" top of mind. During the course of the day I speak with media
representatives and clients, but I keep my phone calls to a minimum. With the
advent of netiquette, so much can be accomplished in very little time in just a
few clicks of the keyboard.
I usually leave my desk around 5 p.m. and
take my daughter to dance class. After fixing the family's dinner (I am a single
mother of four, although only three still live with me!), I return to my desk
and usually work another couple hours. I teach for the University of Phoenix
online and usually spend some time each evening responding to their emails, and
posting news articles, and other pertinent class oriented information. (I have
been teaching for four years. I teach undergrads Marketing and PR, and graduate
students e-Healthcare Technology.).
Q: You have a new
program called "Frankly SpeakingT" for advising small and medium-sized
companies. It sounds like a really interesting and timely concept. What is it,
There are many talented PR professionals that are
ethically driven to do their utmost for their clients. The problem is that they
do not know how to provide business counsel along with the concepts of PR. The
"Frankly Speaking" program is just that - I will not necessarily tell a client
what they want to hear, but instead will tell them what they need to know.
Providing excellent PR counsel is not a race to win friendship. It is a
commitment to say and make actionable the most focused and potentially
beneficial action plan for success as measured by the desired, predetermined
Q: What are some of the unique challenges you face
when working for your particular clients?
I do not believe
these challenges are unique. I believe every qualified PR professional would
answer similarly. Topping my list are the following:
Q: Is there a company or person you think is in particular
need of PR help right now?
- Getting a spokesperson for the organization to
respond in a timely fashion.
- Achieving understanding as to what is and what
is not "news" worthy of parading before a reporter for media coverage. And,
conversely, digging out the "real" newsworthy stories.
- What may be unique is that I have clients that I
have never met in person, and we do business strictly by phone and email. That
is unique. Communicating effectively online only, without any non-verbal
clues, can be a challenge, but I have a great track record of making it
PR should start with "us." I would
love to see everyone adopt the mantra "I am the champion and the caretaker of
the image and reputation of .and then insert your name. Everyone needs PR and
most of us practice it well everyday, without realizing it.
If I had to
pick one person right now that needs PR, it would have to be the newly elected
Pope Benedict XVI.
Q: What would you describe as the high
point of your career? How about the low point?
I am hopeful
that I have yet to achieve the high point of my career.
experienced many exciting moments, including working with icon celebrities such
as President Ronald Regan, Jimmy Durante, Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner and Audrey
Hepburn. Or, my yearly visits to the Los Angeles Playboy Mansion where I worked
a celebrity fundraiser every year. The grounds are breathtaking.
point of my career is an easier answer to provide. I was six months pregnant
with my first daughter when the hospital I worked for closed for construction,
and I had to find work looking like a whale. I waited out the aquatic look until
she was two weeks old and started sending out resumes that landed me my position
as Director of Communications with Weight Watchers International. She was three
months old and I was 25. It was the first and only time that I was unemployed
since age 15. (My volunteer activities from 13-15 do not count as employment.)
Q: What are some of the best practices you see being used in
PR today? Are these best practices different from those of 15 to 20 years
I am an unbridled convert to the great Internet world. PR
practitioners have yet to discover the untapped possibilities of streaming
video, audio, talking websites, Blogs, etc.
Q: What changes
do you predict for the PR industry over the next few years? What aspect of the
PR industry do you think will be fastest growing in
I see blending of the separate communications
disciplines of internal communications, external communications and investor
relations. I believe that successful PR professionals will be well poised with
the education and experience to provide the complete communications package
required to advance the agenda of organizations that are on a full speed ahead
timeline for achieving sustainable competitive advantage. I believe we will soon
see a day where the PR professional is at the executive management table,
literally elbow to elbow with the CFO. It is crucial that PR professionals drive
the necessity for the concepts of PR to permeate every area of an organization
so that every business unit makes decisions on issues based on the potential and
the real PR impact of those decisions. I would like to see our employees become
true unofficial PR ambassadors.
As for what's new at Frank PR - I just
launched a new division, MediBeautyPR, which is dedicated to creating and
sustaining buzz about innovative plastic surgeons, dermatologists, cosmetic
dentists, medi-spa owners, and cosmetic industry entrepreneurs. See www.medibeautypr.com
Peggy C. Frank
and CEO of Frank PR Worldwide , Peggy has
close to 30 years in the PR business, including communications, marketing and
investor relations. She has worked with a number of the largest national and
internationally renowned health care organizations, including Prudential
HealthCare, Heinz's Weight Watchers International, Hyatt Medical Enterprises,and
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center before launching Frank PR in 1999. A widely
requested and dynamic speaker, Peggy has received accolades and awards from the
American Society of Health Care Marketing and Public Relations, International
Association of Business Communicators and Women In Health Administration, to
name just a few. Frank PR has just launched a new program called "Frankly
SpeakingT" to advise a specialized portfolio of small and medium-sized