Member Spotlight: Rich Donley, APR

  • Hometown: Winter Garden (was born/raised in metro Detroit and moved to Central Florida in 2014)
  • Alma mater/degree: Wayne State University (WSU), bachelor’s degree with double major: journalism and radio/TV/film
  • Your first PR job: A PR agency in metro Detroit that was initially exclusively focused on PR for automotive clients, then diversified into other industries. I started as an account executive and during my 13 years there served as senior account executive, account supervisor, vice president, then vice president and partner.

How long have you been a member of PRSA and what made you join?

2023 marks 25 years. I was a former journalist and while at my first PR job I was encouraged to join PRSA and get involved. It has been the best decision – PRSA has been instrumental in my personal and professional development, networking, new clients and lifelong friends. I also had the honor of serving as PRSA Orlando president in 2020 and PRSA Detroit president in 2010.

What does your typical workday look like?

There is no typical workday which makes it interesting and challenging. Oftentimes, there’s counseling clients, strategizing, executing on plans, handling a crisis, conducting training (media, presentation or crisis), developing content, managing the business, networking, pursuing new clients/brands, and, of course, having some fun!

Your agency MCCI, just recently evolved to CRIMSON to focus on purpose-driven brand advocacy—how important are evolution and innovation for PR professionals?

Yes, we lead with purpose, embrace transformation and create change through brand advocacy. We help brands unlock new growth and innovation and bring their vision to life. Likewise, PR professionals should embrace evolution and innovation – adapting to changing trends, building brand relevance, embracing new communication channels, managing crises, demonstrating value and continuously growing professionally … but don’t lose sight of being authentic.

What is your favorite thing to do in Orlando?

Disney. My fascination for the mouse began the summer after Disney World opened, when my family traveled for days in the car across the country, stayed on I-Drive and then finally walked into Disney World with a ticket booklet in hand trying to decide which ride to go on. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage was a top choice. I was transformed. Fantasy and fun were part of the draw to moving to Orlando. When not at Disney, I look out my backyard and watch the fireworks almost every evening. Yeah, I’m still a kid at heart.

What is your most-used emoji?