May 1, 2012
Carol Cone is the global practice chair, Edelman Business + Social Purpose. She has more than 25 years of experience creating substantive public-private partnerships that advance solutions for social issues.
She is also the founder of Cone, Inc., and served as the company’s CEO for 19 years, where she led development of initiatives for Avon, ConAgra Foods, Chevrolet, ITT, Procter & Gamble, Reebok, Western Union and the American Heart Association — helping raise awareness and more than $1.2 billion for causes.
In 2010, she joined Edelman to continue her journey guiding groundbreaking corporate citizenship efforts.
Name: Carol Cone
Creating an entrepreneurial company offering a cutting-edge product/service united by a powerful, inclusive culture. My grandfather and mother were entrepreneurs, so I had entrepreneurial genes in my DNA.
Global practice chair, Edelman Business + Social Purpose — joined Edelman in April 2010
What changed (i.e., how you became interested in public relations):
I didn’t get into law school (I was wait-listed) so I pursued a master’s in communications from Boston University. I became intrigued with public relations when I interned for a PR firm, Newsome & Company.
First public relations job:
Account executive at Newsome & Company — internships help get that first job!
What you know now that you wish you’d known then:
Patience — this trait doesn’t usually come as part of entrepreneurial DNA.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received:
Don’t take “no” for an answer. A “no” is only the first step to a “yes.”
Greatest professional accomplishment:
Building corporate and brand social issues engagement (cause branding/citizenship) into a recognized and widely adopted business strategy
If you weren’t in public relations, you would be:
CEO of a highly innovative and successful consumer products company that has giving back to society at its core
That companies/brands can do very well and very good at the same time — profit with purpose becomes one of the foremost means of organizational success in the 21st century
Make a “business case” for public relations:
From my earliest years in the business, I said public relations was about PR management. Today, with social media, 24/7 communications, and an interconnected, globalized world with massive critical social and environmental needs, companies must stand for something more than the bottom line. Purpose is key to drive growth in this century.