As global director for Ketchum’s social responsibility program, or as we call it, KSR, I recently had the opportunity to lecture at the University of Alabama on the topic, “Using Communications for Positive World Change.”

With studies revealing that 72% of students feel having “a job that can make an impact” is essential to their happiness, I was excited to talk about the world of corporate social responsibility and the power of communications to influence tangible and positive change.

As part of my visit, I was also invited to sit down and share my thoughts on effective leadership in PR. The interview below took place at The Plank Center, named after Betsy Plank, who is commonly referred to as the First Lady of public relations and served as the first female president of Public Relations Society of America in 1973.

It was a pleasure to speak candidly to the students about what I think a good leader is – particularly within the public relations profession.

The three key takeaways I share in the video:

1. To be a successful leader in public relations, it is important to engage – not just with those in the business – but beyond our industry.

2. Strong leaders explain the “why” behind the program, and in turn create confident and self-thinking individuals.

3. A leader in public relations must be a visionary, a person capable of seeing through the clutter and noise to create powerful and strategic communications programs.

Julie Ferriot serves as the global director of Ketchum Social Responsibility (KSR), overseeing the agency’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, including the management of Ketchum’s pro bono partner Room to Read. In this role, she drives global engagement in volunteer and sustainability programs across Ketchum offices and affiliates. Since joining the agency in 2005 Julie has also served as Vice President in the Corporate practice. Julie is based in San Francisco.