President's Letter: May 2018

In my world, the students are buzzing with plans for the summer, which often include internships, travel and online classes. Their preparation includes a conversation about reputation, focusing on the choices they make and how those choices may affect their future work. As Eileen Wixted highlighted numerous corporate crises at our quarterly luncheon, it reinforced to me how critically important our work in reputation management is to our organizations and our team members. Are you having critical conversations with your leaders and team? Are you asking the right questions?

 The Arthur W. Page Society and the Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics have spent years studying public trust in business. Among their conclusions: “Leaders need to become as expert in the trust environment as they are in the technological, economic, political, and competitive environments.” They suggest that business leaders may build and sustain public trust by understanding the answers to key questions, including “What drivers are most likely to affect trust in my company with respect to various stakeholders?” Building and sustaining trust with stakeholders is a key component of reputation management, and their report recommends the following actions for leaders:

  • Create a set of values that define and clarify what your enterprise and its people are at the root, and work to ensure that these values are adhered to consistently across your enterprise.
  • Build and manage strong relationships based on mutual trust with mediating institutions.
  • Embrace transparency.
  • Work within your business sector to build trust in the sector.
  • Re-invest in the trustworthiness of your firm by making a commitment to enhance the core contribution that the firm makes to society.


Want to learn more about managing reputation in your organization? PRSA now offers a Reputation Risk Management Certificate, an online series of six modules launching on May 16. After successfully completing the six-week program, participants will be awarded a certificate of completion and digital badge.

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