A lifelong Orioles fan, Ken has been a season ticket holder since he was in college. At 13, he and his family began a tradition of celebrating Orioles opening day at the ballpark and has attended nearly all of them since then. Ken is shown with his uncle Don Smith at Opening Day 2019.
Meet Ken Smith, an active member of PRSA MD since 1999 who has some sage words about his experience with the chapter: “Ideally today’s members become tomorrow’s chapter leaders, keeping the chapter meaningful and relevant well into the future.”
How long have you been a member of PRSA and why did you join?
I started attending PRSA MD events in 1991 when I was working as branch marketing coordinator at Provident Bank of Maryland. My good friend and mentor Fran Minakowski suggested it would be a good way to develop my skills and meet people in the profession. I formally joined in 1999.
What do you enjoy most about being a board member and volunteering?
Serving on the PRSA MD board has given me the privilege of working with many talented professionals who have become life-long friends. I view the chapter as a perpetual trust for its members. The people who were leaders when I first started participating contributed their time and talents leading programs that were valuable in my career. This is my opportunity to pay that forward for those building their careers now. Ideally today’s members become tomorrow’s chapter leaders, keeping the chapter meaningful and relevant well into the future.
What is your current position at Boeing?
I’m part of the Communications function at Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security business unit working on the Global Sales and Marketing team. I provide executive communications support to the vice president, Global Sales and Marketing and the GSM leadership team, and to the director of Marketing and Operations. I’m also responsible for developing and executing the GSM employee communications and engagement plan for the function’s 600 employees worldwide. I also work with BDS’ trade show team and perform occasional media relations activities.
What do you love most about the PR field?
One of public relations’ greatest strengths is its ability to connect people, ideas and action for the mutual benefit of multiple stakeholders. There are few things more rewarding than executing a well-crafted plan, monitoring the results, adjusting for changing variables and seeing the impact of our work through the end of a campaign. It also attracts interesting, creative people working in a field where no two days are alike.
Who inspires you?
My mom. She was able to build a successful career in media, publishing and marketing at a time when opportunities for women were limited. It wasn’t easy but she worked hard, persevered and delivered results at each stop in her career. She loved travel and lived her life with a spirit of fun. We unfortunately lost her not long ago but she remains an important part of our family’s life.
What’s one thing – either industry-related or not – you learned in the last month?
Tires for sport utility vehicles cost more and don’t last as long as one would think.
What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
For five years I led a contract public affairs team supporting the U.S. Army organization responsible for the environmentally safe disposal of recovered chemical warfare materiel.
Where did you grow up and where would you like to retire?
I grew up in Hagerstown, Md. and Bowie, Md., and have good memories of both. Retirement is a long way off and a lot will happen between now and then. When the time comes, I’ll know where I want to be.