Today's Featured Biography
James E. Lukaszewski (loo ka SHEV skee) advises, coaches, and counsels the men and women who run very large corporations and organizations through extraordinary problems and critical high-profile circumstances. The bulk of his practice is in the Western Hemisphere, although he has clients from many parts of the world.
He is an expert in managing and reducing contention, counteracting tough, touchy, sensitive corporate communications issues. He counsels companies facing serious internal and external problems involving: activist counteraction; community conflict and grassroots campaigns; corporate relations failures; reputational threats; employee relationship building; ethics/integrity/ compliance; litigation visibility; Web-based attacks; and threats to corporate survival. His broad-based experience ranges from media-initiated investigations to product recalls and plant closings, from criminal litigation to takeovers. He is frequently retained by senior management to directly intervene and manage the resolution of corporate problems and bad news. The situations he helps resolve often involve conflict, controversy, community action, or activist opposition. Almost half of his practice involves civil and criminal litigation.
He is a teacher, thinker, coach, and trusted advisor with the unique ability to help executives look at problems from a variety of sensible, constructive, principled perspectives. He teaches clients how to take highly focused, ethically appropriate action. He has personally counseled, coached, and guided thousands of executives in organizations large and small from many cultures representing government; the military and defense industry; the agriculture, banking, computer, financial, food processing, health care, insurance, paper, real estate development, and telecommunications industries; cooperatives; trade and professional associations; and non-profit agencies. He is a coach to many CEOs.
Jim helps prepare spokespersons for crucial public appearances, local and network news interviews including 20-20, 60 Minutes, Dateline NBC, and Nightline, and for financial analyst meetings, and legislative and congressional testimony. He also provides personal coaching for executives in trouble, or facing career-defining problems and succession issues.
He is a prolific author (six books, hundreds of articles), lecturer (corporate, college and university), trainer, counselor, and public speaker. He is a member of Public Relations Review¡¦s Board of Professionals, a contributing editor for Public Relations Quarterly, member of InfoCom¡¦s Media Relations Insider editorial advisory board, frequent columnist and member of PR News¡¦ editorial board, columnist for O¡¦Dwyer¡¦s PR Services Report, and columnist for PRSA¡¦s magazine, The Strategist. His 1992 book, Influencing Public Attitudes: Strategies that Reduce the Media's Power, remains a classic work in the field of direct communication. In 2005, the Public Relations Society of America published the final volume of his four-volume Executive Action„¥ Crisis Communication Management System: War Stories and Crisis Communication Strategies, An Anthology; Crisis Communication Planning Strategies, A Workbook; Crisis Communication Plan Components and Models: Crisis Communication Management Readiness; and Media Relations During Emergencies, A Guide. His newest book, Why Should the Boss Listen to You?, was published by Jossey-Bass in 2008. He has published 25 monographs on critical communication subjects since 1994 and hundreds of articles throughout his career.
He is an internationally recognized speaker on crisis management, ethics, media relations, public affairs, and reputation preservation and restoration. Over the past 36 months he has addressed conferences of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Officers, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Information Officers Association, Puerto Rico PR Association, ABERJE in São Pãulo, Brazil, Health PR & Marketing Society, Media Relations Summit, the College & University PR Association, Choice Hotels Annual Convention, CCEP World Conference on Disaster Management, National Air & Waste Management Association, National School Public Relations Association, Society for Human Resource Management, and Syracuse University; as well as the 2007, 2008, and 2009 International Conferences of IABC, the Public Relations Society of America, and ASIS International. He has addressed several Canadian trade and government conferences including the National Agriculture Awareness, the Government of Canada Communicators, and most recently Natural Resources Canada, Service Canada, Transport Canada, Purchasing Management Association of Canada, and the Canadian Investor Relations Institute. Visiting his Web site, www.e911.com, is like attending the University of Crisis Management.
An accredited member of the International Association of Business Communicators (ABC) and the Public Relations Society of America (APR), Mr. Lukaszewski is a member of the PRSA’s College of Fellows (Fellow PRSA); Board of Ethics & Professional Standards; the Corporate and Public Affairs/Government Sections; and the New York City and Westchester/Fairfield Chapters. He is a member of the International Churchill Society, ASIS International, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). He lectures annually at the U.S. Marine Corp’s East Coast Commander’s Media Training Symposium and was the second recipient of its Drew Middleton Award. He is the recipient of Ball State University’s National Public Relations Achievement Award, Patrick Jackson Award for Distinguished Service to PRSA, PR News Lifetime Achievement Award, Lloyd B. Dennis Distinguished Leadership Award, and named 2007 Minnesota Metropolitan State University Alumnus of the Year and the 2007 Practitioner of the Year by the Southern New England chapter of the PRSA.
Lukaszewski received his BA in 1974 from Metropolitan State University in Minnesota. He is a former deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Economic Development and assistant press secretary to former Minnesota Governor Wendell Anderson. He founded Minnesota-based Media Information Systems Corporation in 1978. Prior to founding The Lukaszewski Group Inc. in 1989 he was senior vice president and director of Executive Communication Programs for Georgeson & Company and a partner with Chester Burger Company, both in New York City. His biography is listed in several editions of Marquis Who’s Who in America. His name was listed in Corporate Legal Times as one of “28 Experts to Call When All Hell Breaks Loose,” and in PR Week as one of 22 “crunch-time counselors who should be on the speed dial in a crisis.”
April 15,2013, Jim's next book, "Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication, What Your CEO should Know About Reputation Risk And Crisis Management," Rothstein Publishers, Brookfield CT, is released. The book can be ordered on Amazon.com and other digital platforms.
August 15, 2013, Jim's biography was added to Wikipedia.
October 1, 2013, Jim's book was selected by Soundview Book Summaries as one of the 30 best new business books of 2013. It is now available as a free MOOC at www.soundviewPro.com. 13 hours of televised lectures by Jim plus hundreds of pages of extra material is also available.
January 15, 2014 Jim is a founding member of the Soundview Summit. A national community of Authors and related fields formed to promote book publishing and greater author expression and collaboration.
March 15, 2014 Marquis’ Who’s Who announced that Jim Lukaszewski’s biography will be published in two editions of the Marquis’ Who’s Who in the Fall of 2014: Who’s Who in America, 2014 Edition, and Who’s Who in the World, 33rd Edition.
Over the last twenty-nine years, his biography has appeared in thirty editions of various Who’s Who publications, including Who’s Who in Finance and Business, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in Media and Communications, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World.
May 3, 2014 in a Ceremony at the old RHS on Toledo Avenue,Jim will be inducted into the RHS Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame along with nine other classmates from various years.
Jim is the first '60 class member to be nominated and selected.
Marcia Chapman’s Introduction for
RHS Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony
Saturday May 3, 2014
In The Former Robbinsdale High School Auditorium
298 words (2 minutes)
Good evening, everyone.
My name is Marcia Chapman and I have known Jim and his wife Barbara since we first met here at the old Robbinsdale High School in the late 1950's. At that time, Jim's interests included music, he was one of the lead trumpets in our high school band, started a dance band, the Esquires with other music students; and the sciences; in fact, Jim joined forces with classmates Chuck Boggs and Joe Stans to build a model "atom smasher," which they entered in local science project contests. They were guided by a team of scientists from the Honeywell Research Center located in Hopkins.
Looking back, it is evident that Jim's creative and analytic beginnings and his ever present curiosity about everything provided him with a foundation for his ability to solve people problems---in Jim's words---his job evolved into helping leading business people and their organizations out of trouble --- some call it crisis management, he calls his work management anthropology and leadership recovery. In the process, Jim and Barbara forged a powerful marriage of 50 years, a team approach to their work together, established a business, first here, then in New York for more 25 years, a dozen books over the years and raised two boys, Chuck and James.
People Jim has worked with comment that his expertise is such that when he recommends something, provides the answers the guidance they need along with constructive, positive and ethical advice, clients need to do what he says promptly because things will be better sooner and recovery is more likely.
Jim will be sharing some of his is interesting stories in just a moment. What I can say is that much of what he has done already and what he does to this day will continue to affect all of our lives in positive, useful ways.
Thank you Jim---
C:\Users\jel\Dropbox\TLG Shared\RHS 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award\Marcia Chapman Introduction.docx
This was my acceptance presentation:
“Just a Kid from Robbinsdale”
By James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA
RHS Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame
May 3, 2014
When someone asks me about my life—this tends to happen more frequently as I get older—I usually begin by saying I’m just a kid from Robbinsdale. And I’ve had an eventful life.
Through it all I have had one totally amazing partner, my wife, Barbara Bray Lukaszewski, Robbinsdale class of 1962 . . . Introduce Barbara.
This evening, let me just share three snapshots of that life I thought you might find interesting.
When I was 14, Minneapolis Fire Department Chief Ray Malmquist started a program for teenage boys to train them as an auxiliary force to assist and support Minneapolis firefighters. At the time I was a member of the Viking Council Explorer Scouts, post-84 at St. Austin Catholic Church in North Minneapolis.
He recruited 100 volunteers to MFD-EX-#1. I was among that first 100. In fact, my oldest friend, Kenny Hudoba, who is in the audience tonight, was in that group as well.
The special training we received from the fire department and American Red Cross essentially made us the very first paramedics years before the term and the concept was thought of.
During that first year I saw, touched and helped recover the body of a young teenage boy—just about my own age—who drowned in a river in Hutchinson, MN. During the six years I volunteered for this duty, I experienced an extraordinary number of ways human beings can hurt themselves and others, and also be very heroic.
During college at Macalester and the University of Minnesota, I worked summers and weekends as a hospital orderly in surgery, emergency medicine, the psychiatric department; and I was a prosector, an individual taught by pathologists to assist them in doing autopsies. At the time I thought I was headed to something in healthcare, but that wasn’t to be.
My friends graduated in 1964 from various schools, colleges and universities; it took me until 1974 to finish my degree at Minnesota Metropolitan University in St. Paul. In the process of completing that degree, I wound up, at age 32, as an adult intern in the press office of former Minnesota Governor Wendell R. Anderson. I was known in the office as the “old guy,” seeing as most interns were probably 19 or 20 years old.
Turns out this experience was an enormous life changer for me. I wound up getting tough tasks, generally involving bad news for the Governor. He intensely disliked bad news and the people who brought it to him. The only time he and I conversed with each other – which was almost every day – was about something adverse that had, was about to, or could likely happen.
You can see how these experiences translated into the crisis management and leadership recovery knowledge that has come to be my life's work.
To this day, whenever I talk to young people early in their careers or still in school, I recommend that they take a couple of years and go into government service at any level: Township, village, county, state or federal.
American democracy is one of the most amazing inventions on this planet. Six plus years in state government taught me that government in America is a miracle that works and creates other miracles that people need every single day.
The biggest lesson from my government service is how decisions are actually made. We talk rather than fight; we talk rather than use force; we talk even with those whose views we abhor; and even during the times of worst deadlocks, things still run. Soldiers don't show up on street corners to check identity papers.
Among the most powerful experiences I’ve have had was in the late 1990s when I was invited to work with a large group of tribal chiefs in western Canada as the country of Canada began negotiating treaties with tribes, mostly in Alberta and British Columbia.
I was surprised to learn that the tragic stories of the pain and suffering of Native Americans is the same story for native Canadians—where tribes are referred to as First Nations. These tribes are often described as “aboriginals”.
Each of these treaties created a new sovereign nation whose tribes were about to inherit extraordinary wealth. My job was to help the chiefs understand and prepare their tribes and themselves to bridge the gap between their horrendous historical experiences and the extraordinary future they were about to enter.
I was unsuccessful.
My approach was to talk about a strategy of forgiveness. But they were looking forward to retribution. The problem boiled down to simply this:
They have a culture of candor, trust, integrity and honesty. If you injured someone else in your tribe or elsewhere, you were honor-bound to stand up, own up, make amends and suffer some consequence immediately. There was literally no need for forgiveness in their culture. The chiefs knew this but still treated me with enormous respect and anticipation. They were hoping I could bring some magic to the leadership tasks that they were facing.
There will be no statues to this kid from Robbinsdale for what transpired in those intense days in western Canada, and the enormous emotions involved. It was they who taught me powerful leadership lessons and great wisdom.
Barbara and I have had interesting lives together, lives of service and learning, including a quarter century living and working from New York, having clients and friends in all 50 U.S. states and much of Canada, and learning from and working on some of most contentious and difficult questions facing companies, organizations and government. I have tried to teach and share much of that wisdom and learning throughout my career.
Let me close with just one more interesting story.
We had lived in New York for about 10-11 years and were flying home. On the approach to LaGuardia airport Barbara looked out the window and said, “It’s beginning to look like home down there,” which startled me. So I asked her, “Since we’ve lived here nearly a decade, how long did you think we would actually stay once we got here?”
She answered immediately, “Well, I thought we’d be here just a couple of years and then we’d go back home to Minneapolis.” Little did I know that her forecast would take 15 more years to come true. But here we are, back in Minnesota.
Barbara retired in 2010; her mother Ruth, 97, resides in Richfield; and we now live in Bloomington just 5 miles away. As we enter the Fall of our lives together I guess there is one great overarching lesson: you can take the kids out of the prairie, but you can never take the prairie out of the kids.
Thank you very much for listening.
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