October 3, 2011
Eric Beikmann is a corporate communications director for the American Cancer Society where he leads media relations strategies for the organization’s California Division as well as communications efforts for the Los Angeles area. He has worked for the Society since 2003 and has worked in the Omaha, Neb., Kansas City, Mo. and Los Angeles markets.
His organization is using public relations to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. “The American Cancer Society is able to share real, personal stories of hope with the public — showcasing that through early detection methods like mammography, breast cancer can be treatable and a person’s chance of dying from the disease is greatly reduced,” Beikmann says. “The fact that we can do this using the internal PR team allows the Society to spend greater financial resources on providing free programs and services to those in need.”
Name: Eric Beikmann
I wanted to be an architect and live in a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home.
Corporate communications director, American Cancer Society
What changed (i.e., how you became interested in public relations):
My communications courses at Kansas State University made me realize that I loved the entire concept of public relations — taking a product or an idea and creating positive buzz about it in strategic ways.
First public relations job:
Account coordinator, Porter Novelli — San Francisco
What you know now that you wish you’d known then:
It’s OK to take a calculated risk and not succeed — at least I tried.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received:
Every closed eye is not sleeping, and every open eye is not seeing.
Greatest professional accomplishment:
Having a job that doesn’t feel like a job
If you weren’t in public relations, you would be:
Traveling the world, spending a month or two in one location and then moving on to another adventure
That my work truly helps make a difference in the lives of those touched by cancer
Make a “business case” for public relations:
We aren’t about quantity alone (e.g., media clips) but about quality — the quality of outcomes and how those are effecting attitudes and behaviors related to brand equity, corporate reputation, public policy, etc.