From the Government to Big Brands, From the Left Brain to the Right Brain

Three months ago, I made a huge change in my life. After eight years as a government consultant in DC, I picked up my family and moved to Chicago to work at Cramer-Krasselt. I went from DC to Chicago, from consulting to PR, from government clients to big brands, from the suburbs to the city, from leading virtual teams to being in the office with my entire team every day, from being at the tip of the spear of the #gov20 movement to being just another PR guy prattling on about social media – and for the last three months, I've been trying to adapt to this new life of mine.

As you can tell, a lot has changed, but a lot has remained the same too. I still spend way too much time in meetings. I'm still having varying levels of success managing office politics. And I'm still trying to change the status quo. I'm not ready to say that PR in the private sector is any better or worse than government consulting – it's just different. And for me, different is good. Instead of being the grizzled veteran who's been with the company longer than most people, I'm the new guy. Instead of being the guy everyone runs to for social media advice, everyone here at least knows the basics, with many knowing much much more than that. Every day, I feel challenged. Every day, I learn something new. Every day, I realize I'm in an entirely different world now. Even though I still do PR and communications, the clients and the environment are very different. So while there are some similarities, in many ways, it's like a whole new career.

This isn't to say that one is better or worse than the other – in fact, it's the dichotomy of the two that I'm enjoying. While I find myself learning more and more about branding and advertising every day, I'm also teaching my new colleagues a lot about staff forecasting, team management, performance reviews, and strategic planning too. If I've learned anything over these last three months, it's that the typical PR pro would be more effective if they thought more like a consultant, and that the typical government consultant sure could benefit from some more creativity and risk-taking.

If you've done PR in both the public and private sectors, what kinds of differences have you experienced?

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About sradick

I'm an SVP, Senior Director at BCW in Pittsburgh. Find out more about me here (

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5 Responses to “From the Government to Big Brands, From the Left Brain to the Right Brain”

  1. Lovisa Says:

    What I find interesting is that at Booz you used more internal collaboration tools.  I would have thought they would be better at this.  I love brainstorming sessions and ideas of just doing it, but I know it’s even better when grounded with a few things that will allow those ideas to be more productive.  I think you have so much to offer your team and company in these areas and more.  So happy you are enjoying your new position.  

    • Steve Radick Says:

       Believe me – that’s been a shocker to me as well. I’ve gotten an even deeper appreciation for all the Enterprise 2.0 stuff that I worked on back there in DC now that I don’t have that same access here. Definitely a lot of opportunity here for that though and I’m looking forward to helping make a whole new company feel a little uncomfortable with the introduction of social media behind the corporate firewall 😉

  2. Valerie Deveza Says:

    Working in the government can prove to be more of a
    challenge.  I think you are given more
    room or more free rein in the private sector. 
    I’d be happy to work in the private sector anytime, but I’ll always
    think twice before accepting a job in the government.

  3. Ari Herzog Says:

    What are the similarities?

    • Steve Radick Says:

      Well, I’m still “consulting” even if it’s no longer in my title because I think it’s more of a mindset of mine than a job title. I still spend way too much time in meetings. I still see a lot of opportunities for us to collaborate and communicate more effectively internally, and I’m still trying to build and develop a team around me.