NutsPR Spotlight: Gerard Corbett

Hello there and welcome to NutsPR Spotlight, May edition!

I am honored to introduce to you Gerard Corbett. Gerry has a tremendous experience in branding, marketing, communications and public relations. For over four decades he has served our industry in senior marketing and communications roles at Global Fortune 100 firms.

Earlier in his career, he worked in the aerospace engineering and information technology space with Silicon Valley firms and NASA. Just WOW!

Wait, I am not done. Gerry is passionate about nature and landscape photography. Go check his Instagram account and you will love the sunsets (I know I do).

Gerry was very kind to share with us a glimpse in his amazing career and experience.

Without further ado, please welcome Gerard Corbett:

When did you know PR is what you wanted to do?

I got the bug in high school largely driven by my proclivity for prose. In my senior year of high school in Philadelphia I did some research on schools that offer PR degrees and discovered San Jose State University in San Jose had the second oldest degree in the country. It fit my long-term plan to “Go West Young Man.”

Having grown up most of my life in the City of Brotherly Love, I decided with my twin brother that West was my destiny.

So with two years of college under my belt in Philadelphia my brother and I ventured West in our 1966 Opel Kadett to sunshine and blue skies.

After landing an engineering gig at NASA in Mountain View, CA, I enrolled in the PR program at San Jose State University. I attended San Jose State University during the day and worked the graveyard shift at NASA Ames Research Center on advanced aerospace programs like the Space Shuttle and testing Russian MIG fighters during the Vietnam War.

With sheep skin in hand, I launched my career in the late 1970s and never looked back.

How does teaching PR help you learn? How do you like to learn?

I teach to pay it forward.

Teaching can be an invigorating experience because it is a team sport. The expectation is that you learn as much as you teach.

Students today for the most part are very articulate and know what they want. But they don’t always possess the savvy that comes from hard knocks and experience.

Teaching allows me to take the lessons I have learned from my 40 years in the business and paint a rubric from which the new leaders can learn, understand and find their own paths.

A piece of advice for anyone heading into the reality of PR?

As you build a foundation in public relations, know well your value and be able to articulate who you are, what you do and what you bring to the table. And be able to communicate this succinctly and smartly.

If you are able to do this, you will likely be ahead of 99 percent of your peers.

Also, bear in mind that career development is more than just mapping a path to build a life. It is about doing things in your work and avocation that can positively impact those who follow.

It is also about leaving a legacy in your chosen field from which others can benefit.

What would you like to change in the PR industry and think it can be accomplished this year?

I am not certain what to change.

What I do think is that the role of the PR practitioner will always be (and should be) based on some fundamental responsibilities that never change.

  • PR practitioners are no longer gatekeepers between their companies and the media. PR professionals are activists seeking to engage, enlighten, and energize an organization’s many stakeholders.
  • PR professionals advocate not just for their organizations but also for their organization’s constituents and stakeholders, which adds the important role of presenting the stakeholders interests and views to management.
  • PR practitioners also serve as strategic content developers and storytellers, helping their organizations formulate key messages that are resonant with the corporate culture and nature of the organization.
  • PR practitioners help an organization build mutual trust by encouraging transparency and integrity throughout the organization.
  • PR practitioners are counselors who actively advise and guide organizations in honestly communicating and behaving in the best interests of society and constituents such as customers, employees, shareholders, and the communities in which they operate.
  • PR professionals are enablers and connectors, helping organizations stay grounded, stay human, and stay sensitive to the needs and desires of their communities. In essence, the role of today’s public relations practitioner is akin to being the conscience of the organization, being ever vigilant to ensuring that the organization is “doing the right thing.”

What’s next for Gerard Corbett?

Gerard Corbett first and foremost is an advocate for the PR profession.

Gerard Corbett will continue to be a strategic counsellor, educator, mentor and coach. He also will continue pursuing his passion for photography, curating light to illuminate the beauty of nature and its creatures.

You can find Gerard pretty much everywhere on his blog PR Job CoachFacebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest, Quora.