Oral Histories

Ron Culp

Interview Segments on Topic: Challenges/Accomplishments

Ron Culp Biography

Ron Culp is the professional director of the Graduate PRAD program at DePaul University and an independent public relations consultant. He was the Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Midwest operations of Ketchum, has a 30-year career that spans a broad range of communications activities in government and the business-to-business, consumer products, pharmaceutical and retailing industries. Most recently, he was Managing Director and Chairman of Citigate Sard Verbinnen, where he established the agency's highly successful Chicago office. Culp also served as SVP of PR, government affairs, communications, and community relations for Sears, Roebuck and Co. for 10 years.

Transcript

Interviewer: Okay, which of your accomplishments are you the most proud of?

Culp: That's the toughest one. I think that probably if I call it an accomplishment, it’s all of the people that tell me I have helped mentor them, and I think looking at where they are in their careers. And I wouldn’t look at some of as having been mentored to them. John Harris who now heads public relations at Sara Lee or Ann McCarthy who heads PR at Western Union, a whole number of people who are now put in leadership positions in corporate America. I didn’t think I was a mentor but obviously I hear from them that

Interviewer: Maybe you do

Culp: Yeah they think differently. And I think when you are doing it without that being your goal, it kind of is very enriching. I am going to start a website, a blog, on essentially helping guide people in PR careers which is an idea, interestingly enough, by young people that I’ve been working with. And one of them wrote the plan, saying here’s what you ought to do. And so they brainstormed with me on how it’s going to work and I’ve got a bunch of ideas going into it. So I think that probably helping raise the level of, of the talent that comes into the profession by identifying this is a real leader. This profession and whatever we can do to help make sure that they make it. And I believe the same thing is important. My second passion is making sure that we do a better job of increasing diversity in the profession. And so we have a model that we set up in our office to make sure that every minority who comes to work sees a career path that is achievable, and we identify someone at senior level and somebody at the entry level and places in between that they could see how they moved through the organization. And I think that that’s something that hasn’t been too apparent in this profession and we need to do more of that as well. So those are kind of the dual things that I look at that I’m further along in mentoring than I am in increasing diversity understanding the profession but I think that both are, hopefully are going to be things I look back at and say I feel very good about what I’ve done.