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On the Case With…

Each month, as part of “The Business Case for Public Relations,” PRSA asks an industry leader to reflect on his or her career and make a “business case” for public relations.

More from “On the Case With…”

On the Case with John E. Walker

January 3, 2014

John E. Walker joined Syniverse in 2010 as vice president, global marketing and communications and is responsible for positioning, branding, special events and digital marketing, as well as internal and external communications.

Before joining Syniverse, Walker spent 11 years at Edelman, most recently serving as executive vice president. He led the firm’s Southeast corporate practice and designed PR strategy for clients including Cisco, GE Energy, Motorola and Qualcomm. Prior to this, Walker served as an account executive with Ketchum.

He earned a master’s of business administration in international marketing from Rollins College and bachelor’s of professional accountancy from Mississippi State University.

Regarding PR and communications trends as we move into 2014, Walker says, “The annual communications plan is dead. In a world permeated with real-time and small screens, professionals must be agile and nimble in planning, which should be continuous and adaptive to immediate opportunities that must be communicated with brevity.”

John E. Walker

Childhood ambition:
As an only child, I felt invincible so I was determined to fly high in the sky as an acrobat in the circus or as a pilot — albeit, my height proved to be a major hindrance for both.

Current livelihood:
Vice president, global marketing and communications, Syniverse

What changed:
After graduating with a bachelor’s in professional accountancy, I worked in the accounting function for a NASA contractor and knew I needed a more creative career path, which led me to obtain a master’s of business administration in international marketing.

First public relations job:
Supporting celebrity events and influencer relations for Planet Hollywood at its global headquarters and flagship restaurant in Orlando, Fla.

What you know now that you wish you’d known then:
Public relations is much more than celebrities, lights and cameras. It requires a strategic mindset to instill messages that resonate with a multitude of stakeholders across a myriad of diverse channels.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received:
Stay behind the camera! In my first event on the red carpet, a photographer captured an image of Sylvester Stallone with me towering over him. From that day on, I’ve remained an invisible force behind the scenes.

Greatest professional accomplishment:
The growth and professional development of my team members in the past 15-plus years has been rewarding to observe — knowing my role in helping them to realize their full potential as global marketing strategists.

If you weren’t in public relations, you would be:
A philanthropist that addresses the world’s most pressing issues with mobile technology as the core engagement channel

Desired legacy:
Ensuring that those I’ve encountered are prepared for lifelong personal gratification and professional success

Make a “business case” for public relations:
Public relations cultivates mutually beneficial relationships that enhance credibility and a brand’s ability to unleash its full potential.



Elizabeth Cabell says:

I am thrilled to see John being profiled! I have worked with John for nearly a decade and he is as best as any communicator can get. From creativity, to practical communications solutions for today's global economy. Congrats, John!

February 3, 2014

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