This week, I have the great honor of becoming CEO of Ketchum—to serve our clients, our people and our connected global community as we charge forward into the next great chapter of our exceptional firm. In the earliest hours of that chapter, I shared some thoughts with my colleagues.
I often tell the story of my first desk at Ketchum. It was a card table turned makeshift desk just outside the kitchen in our Washington, D.C., office. There were a few legal pads and pens. That was 25 years ago, and I felt like the luckiest guy in the world to have landed an entry-level role with a firm with such strength, such purpose and with a reputation for delivering unparalleled client experiences.
I write this today feeling even more lucky—this time, from a different card table, another makeshift desk, just outside my own kitchen in Asbury Park, New Jersey. For me, that arc is proof that Ketchum is an organization where opportunities are limitless for every single person in our global firm. It’s also a reminder that I’m stepping into this role at a time when our fortitude as counselors, as teammates, as individuals has never been more tested as we navigate—together with our clients—a global pandemic, economic instability and social and cultural unrest.
These times—and this leadership transition at Ketchum—have given me an opportunity to really think about what I believe. And what I believe in.
I believe in our vision, our strategy and our transformation into the world’s most-valued communications consultancy.
I believe that even as our business continues to change and evolve at speeds no one can predict, it will always rely on the work we put into building lasting relationships. Into really listening to clients. Into being valued partners with deep industry and specialty expertise who help them seize opportunities to grow their businesses and advance their reputations. Into building trust among our own teams and colleagues so that our clients can feel that sense of Ketchum collaboration and see it in action on their behalf.
I believe that our industry is experiencing seismic transformation, which excites me and motivates me—and all of us at the firm—to embrace the change and make it work for our clients. To reimagine what is possible for them. To lean ever harder on analytics, creative and strategy that are irrefutably informed by data, and results that drive communications and business results—never just the former.
I believe we have spent the past several weeks reflecting on the progress we’ve made in creating a sense of real belonging at the firm, but that we have much work to do in our journey to be more diverse and more inclusive. That work requires actions over words, and a sense of urgency that our clients and our colleagues deserve.
I believe that our culture is strong, that we value the right things, and that these times are truly testing it, and testing us. But I believe in the talent, the resilience, the generosity and the integrity of every individual in this firm—whether they chose to join Ketchum a few months, a few years or a few decades ago. And that when we come together to solve a problem or seize an opportunity, we are invincible.
I believe that the way we work matters as much as the work we deliver, which is why I believe so strongly that our future and inevitable success will be because of our ability to marry deep empathy with razor-sharp intelligence.
I believe that this job is never about one person. It’s about one brand. One mission. One global community of spectacular colleagues and clients, partnering every day to make a difference in the world.
I’m taking on this new role with profound gratitude for the opportunity and confidence in this firm, forged by 25 years of my love for it. Our foundation is strong. We will keep building on it, reimagining what is possible for our colleagues, and for the clients we wake up each morning to serve.