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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.

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On the Case With Tracy Owens, J.D.


January 1, 2015

Tracy Owens, J.D.
Tracy Owens, J.D.

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

 

Tracy Owens, J.D., is senior manager of corporate relations for Allstate New Jersey. He began his Allstate career in 2011 as the regional corporate relations manager in the Southeast Region in Atlanta. 

He is responsible for external and internal communications, managing the foundation and working with other members of the senior management team to develop policies, procedures and products that support agents and internal staff.

Owens previously served as communications manager for the Illinois Lottery and director of communications and government relations for Advocate Healthcare in Chicago. Prior to that, he worked as a Capitol Hill staffer and policy analyst on the state level.

He has also managed communications while performing catastrophe duty in multiple regions, including New York and New Jersey following Superstorm Sandy.

Owens, a Tupelo, Miss. native, earned his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College and his law degree from The George Washington University Law School. 

He reflects on what’s top of mind in the corporate relations sector of public relations right now: “Corporate relations professionals have to have a holistic view of the companies we support. Mastering one segment is not enough. We have to learn as much as possible about the business itself, because it will allow us to be more insightful about the counsel we provide. We are all skilled at messaging, but to be great at corporate relations, it means you have to learn more than the basics.”

Name: Tracy Owens, J.D.

Childhood ambition: An architect, but I realized that I was much better at writing than at math.

Current livelihood: Senior manager of corporate relations for Allstate New Jersey

What changed: My friend’s sister worked for a PR firm in Chicago, and through conversations, she thought that I had the skills and background to do well. Thank you, Kellie Harris!

First public relations job: Hill+Knowlton in Chicago on their public affairs team

What you know now that you wish you’d known then: Public relations touches so many aspects of our lives — now, I am always thinking of what is being conveyed and why.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: Be true to yourself. It is a whole lot easier to be who you are than to try to remember who you are supposed to be.

Greatest professional accomplishment: That I might have had some small influence on someone reaching their goals or going beyond what they thought they could do

If you weren’t in public relations, you would be: Working in the policy field or something involving politics, trying to find solutions to things that are broken

Desired legacy: Expose others to the possibilities of public relations as a career choice and help to expand opportunities for diverse populations

Make a “business case” for public relations: Businesses are constantly staking out opportunities to tell their story. If you are not vigilant in controlling and telling your own story, then others will do it for you. Their story will not be as accurate or as kind. Bottom line: Neglect public relations at your own peril.



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