Member Q&A with Bob Schultz, APR, Fellow PRSA
The PRSA Hoosier Chapter is conducting member profiles throughout the year to facilitate connections within the Chapter. We are pleased to introduce Bob Schultz.
Name: Bob Schultz, APR, Fellow PRSA
Position: Senior Vice President, Communications, Marketing and Events, Downtown Indy, Inc.
Adjunct faculty member, Butler University and IUPUI
College Attended: Purdue University, B.A. in Communications; Loyola University, M.A. in Adult Training
PRSA Current Position: Chair of the Local Host Committee for the 2016 International PRSA Conference
PRSA Past Positions: Hoosier Chapter President, Vice President, Director of Programs, Assembly Delegate
Q: What’s your coolest career experience to date?
While serving as the national spokesperson for the American Camp Association back in the late ‘90s, I was invited to be a guest on Good Morning America to talk about what parents should look for in a good summer camp for their kids. ABC flew me to New York, put me up in a nice hotel, picked me up the next morning in a big black car, put make-up on me as Joan Lunden and Charlie Gibson ate Cheerios right next to me, prepped me in the Green Room, did their live 3 minute interview, then promptly led me to a side door that opened to an alley in New York’s upper East side and dropped tending to me like a day-old donut. Fame! But it was pretty cool…
Q: What’s your favorite part of your current job?
Leading the strategic direction for Downtown Indianapolis and executing on some really cool ideas. For example, when brainstorming a couple of summers ago while enjoying a cocktail on Georgia Street, we hatched the idea (on a cocktail napkin) that we could actually suspend an Indycar over a huge Georgia Street crowd and make it our Indy-style New Year’s Eve ball drop. And we actually pulled it off and are now preparing for our third annual NYE on Georgia Street. (It helped that my friends Scott Jacek and Jeff Sinden with the Indy Racing Experience were part of that cocktail napkin exercise!)
Q: What skillset would you like to learn?
Besides learning how to play the drums, I’d love to learn coding. My kids can do it – but maybe that ship has sailed for me since every intern I know has it down. There’s no question, though, that the computer is the best invention of the past 100 years. I just love the times we’re living in – technology rules.
Q: What advice would you give to new PR professionals?
Most people know that I love to teach and I love working with college students and seeing them use the skills put into action in real-life applications. As I tell my students, or the many, many interns I’ve hired over the years, or new pros even, “ask good questions.” This piece of advice is as simple as it sounds but clearly demonstrates engagement, interest and eagerness to learn – all necessary elements for advancement. Too often, interns and young pros get into their first jobs and hunker in on their duties but forget to take advantage of time with seasoned pros while walking to appointments or while waiting for meetings to start. Trust me – seasoned pros love being asked questions about why they do this or what’s the reason we do that. This is where the best learning takes place. And somewhat related – never, never, NEVER leave a meeting without clearly knowing what is expected of you. Take the time to ask for clarification if need be and don’t assume you’ll figure it out when you’re back at your desk. Ask good questions.
Q: What’s one PR rule that you live by?
One of the Provisions of Conduct prescribed by PRSA is “Disclosure of Information,” which is intended to build trust. It is this code I try hardest to live by. Withholding information or much worse – lying – does nothing to better any relationship, both personal or professional. I have found that being totally open and honest, while protecting confidences, pays off great dividends and keeps you out of hot water. In dealing with sponsor solicitation or media briefings or employee reviews, etc., be open, be honest, be forthcoming and have the abundant mentality that others are treating you the same. As my momma always told me, “You don’t have to remember what your lie is if you’re always telling the truth.”