This month, we sat down with Jason Bohne, Communications Director at Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC for our member spotlight.
Education/Certifications: B.A. Mass Communication, Idaho State University; Graduate Certificate in Integrated Marketing Comunications, West Virginia University
Employment: Communications director, Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (contractor for the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas)
Why did you choose public relations as a career?
I am a problem solver and a storyteller, and I am driven to make a difference. I love to learn, I enjoy hard work, and I call it like I see it. I found that those traits translated well to the field of public relations, and they have served me well in my career. I feel like my team and I regularly make a difference for the company, for the community, and for the country. I love what I do.
What’s the most memorable moment of your career?
Very early in my career I came up with a creative and unusual approach that I was convinced would improve a difficult stakeholder situation. Before proceeding with implementation, my manager asked me to brief the president of our 6,500-person company. Let’s just say that my first meeting with the company president didn’t go well. He disagreed with my approach—like, really, really disagreed. To say he hated it would be understatement. My manager gamely defended the idea, but the president was having none of it. The entire conversation was incredibly uncomfortable—and mostly one-way, coming at me with impressive velocity. On the elevator ride after the meeting, as I reflected on the smoldering remnants of both my idea and my confidence, my manager calmly said something along the lines of, “Hey, if you never get in trouble in this job, you’re not doing it right. Don’t let this discourage you. Keep the ideas coming.” I’ve never forgotten that advice and encouragement. To be any good at this job, at times we need to push the envelope past some people’s comfort level. And as leaders we need to support our people in taking those risks.
Why are you a member of PRSA?
Besides the resources and learning opportunities, I appreciate being part of an organization of peers who seek to enhance our profession’s capabilities and standing. I am not as active as I would like to be, but I enjoy the interactions and relationships I have made through PRSA.
What advice would you give to new professionals?
Two things come to mind. First, hold fast to your personal principles and values, recognizing that there is more to life than the job. To be successful in this field requires a lot of hard work, weird hours, and intellectual stress. Knowing you are doing the right things for the right reasons and maintaining your priorities outside of work makes it easier. Second, be willing to leap outside your comfort zone—that’s where the magic often happens. Take assignments you are uncomfortable with but allow you to learn and grow; volunteer somewhere you can make a difference and gain unique experience; be relentless in finding ways to deliver results rather than just filling orders and checking boxes. I’ve worked in a lot of “stressful” situations over the years, but maintaining a personal perspective and embracing the discomfort has made it fun and rewarding.
Member spotlights are submitted by Membership Chair Kathryn King (firstname.lastname@example.org).