How do you react when you’re asked to look the other way? What should you do?

PRSA’s National Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) just hosted a terrific presentation about this subject. Find out how to be an ethical PR Pro if you’re ever asked to look the other way and view the recorded one-hour presentation here.

What the Experts Say

Doing the right thing ethically can sometimes be a scary proposition, especially if you are a new pro, fear job safety, or the loss of a client.

The presentation included great advice from Jim Lukaszewski, APR, PRSA Fellow: “Our goal should be to speak with candor and give advice that’s fast and fair.” He defined candor as “truth with an attitude delivered now.” Lukaszewski went on to say, “People need advice on the spot and they look to public relations advisors to let them know what to do next. As credible PR professionals, we need to make thoughtful, ethical recommendations that give people options while always keeping in mind who is affected directly and indirectly by those recommendations.”

Lukaszewski shares great tips during the presentation and has written a new book entitled The Decency Code: The Leader’s Path to Building Integrity and Trust. He also shared a list of mistakes he’s seen advisors make and lessons learned from them.

The second speaker was Jaylen Christie, M.S. in Communications. He’s an account supervisor at Bernadette Davis Communications in Orlando, FL. He shared examples of how organizations really got it right and another really got it wrong from an ethical standpoint as they each reacted to a crisis situation. He says, “It may be uncomfortable, but we must give sound advice and be resolute about what we believe to be the right thing to do.”

The final two speakers were Jennifer Walck and Derreasha Jones from the Children’s Home Society in Orlando, FL. They spoke on how to build and model their organization’s core values within their employees and leadership. They encourage safe space environments and creating platforms for times when dialogue is needed to foster change and solve problems during difficult situations.

Value and Conduct Refresh

Please remember that ethical conduct is the most important obligation of a PRSA member and part of what sets PRSA members apart from other public relations professionals.

My advice to you?

And finally, here’s the link to the Code of Ethics.

We’re Here for You

Good luck! Please reach out to me should you be facing an ethical dilemma or have any questions that I might answer. I can at least put you in touch with someone who can help.

I look forward to sharing more content, offering guidance, solutions and providing resources on ethical matters. If you would like to reach me, or have questions or ideas for topics I should cover in this column, feel free to email me at:

About the AuthorAn elevated view of two people examining paper work. They hold penciles and only their hands are visible.

Julie Smith-Taylor, APR is the owner and founder of Taylor PR Strategies. She earned her accreditation in public relations in 1993. This early achievement opened the door to serving our PRSA chapter in a wide variety of board positions and committees. She also served as the 2013 Chair of PRSA’s Western District in 2013 and Chaired the Opening Night Reception Committee in 2019 for PRSA’s ICON held in San Diego. 

Not a member? Find out how to join PRSA today, or take a look at our upcoming events.

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Written by: Julie Smith-Taylor, APR

Posted on: April 29, 2022

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