Climbing the Public Relations Career Ladder and “Getting to the Top”

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Seasoned executives in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Eastwick Communications, Polycom, and Business Objects share best practices on "Getting to the Top" during a career development seminar being held at Stanford Graduate School of Business on June 6, 2006.

From getting that coveted first account coordinator position to securing a high-profile management position down the road, ambitious public relations and corporate communications professionals are plotting their career course. To help, Alumni Career Services at Stanford Graduate School of Business, together with Deborah Henken, president of go-to-market consulting firm Highland Team, and Kathryn Ullrich, president of executive recruitment firm Kathryn Ullrich Associates, Inc., are presenting the latest installment in the “Getting to the Top” career development series, “Getting to the Top in Public Relations and Corporate Communications,” planned for Tuesday, June 6th.

The program will explore the skills and traits necessary for advancing in public relations and corporate communications careers, career success milestones and lessons learned along the way with the following senior executive panelists:

  • Elaine Cummings, Principal, Eastwick Communications
  • Tracy Eiler, VP Corporate Communications, Business Objects
  • Jessica Kersey, Director Marketing Communications and PR, Polycom
  • Laurel Tielis, Speaker and Author of The Girl’s Guide to Getting on Top: Positioning Your Business Through Media Placements
  • Moderators: Deborah Henken, Founder of Highland Team marketing consultancy, and Kathryn Ullrich, Executive Recruiter at Kathryn Ullrich Associates, Inc.

“While working to grow Eastwick during the past 15 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some stellar PR talent,” said Elaine Cummings, Principal, Eastwick Communications. “I’m a firm believer in helping people realize their career goals by focusing on their natural talents. There is no single path to the top in PR. At Eastwick, we have employees who focus on management, while others are media specialists and spend most of their day pitching stories to reporters. I think it is imperative that a PR professional take a close look at his or her talents as well as the projects that bring the most personal satisfaction and map the career path accordingly.”

“Alumni need to understand what leadership and management skills are necessary for the next step in their careers. Successful PR and communications executives will explain how the skills needed change as one moves up in the communications profession and how top leaders have been successful in their careers,” said Mercy Eyadiel, Director, Stanford Graduate School of Business Alumni Career Services.

"An important ingredient in the career success recipe involves what I call 'proactivity.' Whether an entry-level applicant or a senior executive, we must all be our own career advancement advocates, taking responsibility for growth," said Kathy Ullrich, executive recruiter with Kathryn Ullrich Associates, Inc. "This self-development focus is what fuels our 'Getting to the Top' seminars, allowing attendees to hear best practices of senior executives and then apply these tips for on-the-job success."

“Getting to the Top in Public Relations and Corporate Communications” will take place Tuesday, June 6th, at Stanford GSB, Bishop Auditorium at 6:00 PM for networking, 6:30 for the program.

The registration fee is $40 in advance, $60 at the door. Stanford Graduate School of Business alumni that pre-register are welcome for a discount price of $25, $35 at the door. Stanford Graduate School of Business students are $15. Please visit for registration and details of previous programs.

The “Getting to the Top” seminar events were created for those seeking their own training and mentorship to reach the next career level in marketing and sales. Recent “Getting to the Top” seminars focused on Product Marketing/Management and general Marketing, with tips on vision setting, delegation, communication, and “knowing thy customer.” Event panelists included executives from Adobe, eBay, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, PeopleSoft, Sybase, and Symantec. Future series seminars will cover “Strategic Alliances and Channel Management” and “CEOs with Marketing and Sales Backgrounds.”

About Stanford GSB Alumni Career Services:

Alumni Career Services offers a broad range of expertise, services, programs, and resources to assist Stanford GSB alumni with their continued career development. We offer the GSB Alumni Job Board, Executive Career Coaching, Self-Assessment and Job Search Tools, Workshop Presentations, Career Reading Lists, and Industry Guides. For more information, contact Mercy Eyadiel, Director of Alumni Career Services, at 650.724.3130 or visit our website at

About the Highland Team:

Highland Team, a go-to-market consulting firm, creates revenue-enhancing strategies and programs to launch and grow businesses focused on strategic marketing, channel strategy and development and go-to-market planning and implementation. Highland Team’s over 50 years of startup and corporate executive experience delivers strategic thinking combined with rapid implementation that assures results. For more information, contact Deborah Henken at 650.224.6295 or

About Kathryn Ullrich Associates, Inc.:

Kathryn Ullrich Associates, Inc. specializes in the recruitment of senior-level executives for technology and consulting companies. Kathryn Ullrich Associates, Inc. combines proven search experience with working knowledge of high technology functional skills and industry experience to find top executive talent. For more information contact Kathy Ullrich at 650.458.8737 or


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