I’ve attended over the years numerous public relations organization events featuring prestigious speakers, but it’s difficult to top last week’s keynoter at the Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) (www.publicity.org) Golden Trumpet Awards dinner: former President Jimmy Carter.
On the dais to honor the PCC’s 2014 lifetime achievement winners and former Carter White House staffers – long-time Chicago-based political PR pros Rick Jasculca and Jim Terman – Mr. Carter briefly reflected on his presidency, but then focused on the work of his current pride and joy, The Carter Center.
He cited three key areas the Center addresses today:
- Helping stamp out tropical diseases often neglected by other organizations, mentioning recent efforts to eradicate Guinea worm
- Assisting countries in the throes of “troubled elections” to bring more democracy to the world
- Protecting human rights and what he called the leading problem in this area – the disparity in equal rights for and protection of women and girls around the world and in America (the frequency of sexual assaults on U.S. college campuses, the majority unreported, is a great concern to Mr. Carter)
In a less serious vein, Mr. Carter recalled when Jasculca first was asked if he wanted to work for the next president of the United States, and when told it was Jimmy Carter, replied something to the effect, “who the heck is he?” And Terman rather sheepishly noted he and Jasculca needed to refer to notes for their speeches, while the soon to be 90-year-old former President spoke off the cuff, armed with statistics, wonderful stories – and no notes.
It was indeed memorable for our team to be present to hear Mr. Carter’s remarks, an evening beautifully capped off when LCWA went home with four Trumpet awards.