Meet the Team: Grant – CEO & Managing Partner

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To help our audience learn who is behind the content on this blog, we’ve been releasing a series of Q&A’s from our team. In this month’s edition, you will learn all about our Managing Partner & CEO, Grant Wright.

Grant joined (W)right On full-time in 2004. As CEO, Grant provides oversight and senior-level communications and business counsel for the agency’s clients while also overseeing agency management and administration. He has over 20 years of senior management experience leading external affairs and business development for major American and Canadian corporations and their subsidiaries. With extensive skills in all aspects of communications including media, regulatory, governmental, community outreach and labor relations; he has also led major infrastructure project development, M&A due diligence and implementation management, marketing and brand development efforts and strategic and business plan development for Fortune 500 companies as well as small to mid-level growth ventures.

What would you be doing if you weren’t at your current job?

I would be traveling more with family; experiencing other cultures.

What’s one word you would use to describe yourself?

Optimistic.

Fill in the blank. “If you really knew me, you’d know_____”

I’m only as good as the great people around me in my life.

What super power would you like to have?

Flight/Teleportation

What would a “perfect” day look like to you?

Light breakfast; workout; read/nap; beach walk and oceanfront drinks/dinner; great live performance.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the past year?

Patience.

pura-taman-ayun-209533_640 Best vacation you’ve had?

 Indonesia with Julie.

 What’s your most embarrassing  moment at work?

 Locking myself out of my room at a 5-star hotel in my underwear when I was sick.

Favorite quote?

Wow. So many. Ok here are two…

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” – William Shakespeare

“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s the universal truth. So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.” – Marilyn Monroe

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would be cast as you?

Someone saying, “Dang, what happened to my acting career?”

What’s your drink of choice?martini-548031_640

It changes, these days a Martini. This phase could be ending soon; excited for the next one! 😉

If you were stuck on an island and could only choose 5 CDs, what would they be?

CD’s? What are they? Love Actually Soundtrack; Elton John Live in Australia; Dark Side of the Moon; Beatles 1; Boston Pops Classical Compilation.

Fill in the blank. “People would be surprised if they knew____”

I like EDM way more than someone my age should.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Negativity.

What TV show/movie is your guilty pleasure?

The Voice.

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

Air.

Favorite line from a movie?

Too many, but here are four:

“I love getting up in the morning! I clap my hands and say ‘This, is going to be a great day!”

“Unless you love everybody, you can’t sell anybody.”

“Roll with the punches, tomorrow’s another day.”

“If your heart is empty, your ideas don’t matter.” – Dickey Fox

Do you have an office nickname? What is it?

If I do they haven’t told me!

What’s the best/worst gift you have ever received?

Our two sons with Julie / There is no worst, because every one is well intentioned.

What do you like to do in your free time?

  • Be with family and friends
  • Play racquetball
  • Read
  • Be on the water
  • Travel to new places/experiences

 

Check out a couple blog posts written by Grant here:

In Communications, the Only Constant is Change – Part 2

In Communications, the Only Constant is Change

San Diegans Oppose City Funding New Chargers Stadium

San Diegans Oppose Building New Chargers Stadium

63 percent of San Diego County residents oppose the City of San Diego funding a new Chargers stadium

SAN DIEGO, August 26, 2014 – A study conducted by (W)right On Communications found that 63 percent of County residents would oppose the City of San Diego funding construction of a new stadium for the Chargers. Of those who oppose, 67 percent said that they do not support public funding of a new stadium even if that means the Chargers would move to Los Angeles. The results were nearly the same at the City level: 59 percent of City of San Diego residents opposing, and of those, 63 percent said they would not support it even if it means the Chargers would leave town.

“Because many in the community have advocated to replace the aging stadium, we were surprised to see that a majority of San Diego county residents opposed making such an investment,” said Hamish Marshall, Director, Research & Analytics at (W)right On Communications. “This is critical because should the mayor propose a new stadium plan, San Diego voters will ultimately have final say on whether public funds can be used for it.”

Last season, only 513,641 fans visited Qualcomm Stadium to see the San Diego Chargers play, which ranks them 22 out of 32 NFL teams for game-day attendance. Formerly known as San Diego Stadium and San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, the Chargers played their first game at the multi-purpose facility in August 1967. It is the fifth oldest stadium in the National Football League. In 2003, San Diego hosted Super Bowl XXXVII, and although the event was a success, then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced that it would be San Diego’s last Super Bowl until it builds a replacement for Qualcomm.

The survey was produced by recently launched (W)right On Communications’ analytics division, WOC Intelligence, a data-driven decision-making initiative that strategically helps reveal the heart of key issues through expert survey development, implementation and analysis.

An online survey questioned 375 San Diego County residents between July 21 and July 24, 2014. Results weighted by age, gender, income and County region, with the margin of survey error being +/- 5.1%, 19 times out of 20.

90 Percent of San Diegans Support Turning Off the Water at Waterfront Park

90% of San Diegans Support Turning Off Water at Water Park

WOC Intelligence survey shows City residents want park water shut off; most feel they are individually doing all they can to conserve water and that businesses should be asked to make mandatory reductions

SAN DIEGO, August 25, 2014 – While visitors and nearby residents flock to the new $49.4 million downtown Waterfront Park, San Diego residents overwhelmingly want the water shut off. A study conducted by (W)right On Communications found that 90 percent of residents living in the city of San Diego support the shutdown of the water playground in Waterfront Park. The results were almost mimicked at the county level, with 89 percent of those surveyed supporting the water playground closure.

“We were surprised to see such one-sided opinion towards shutting down the water playground,” said Hamish Marshall, Director, Research & Analytics at (W)right On Communications. “In a time when everyone in the state is being asked to conserve water, San Diegans are concerned about scarce water resources. The unanimity on the water park could reflect a lack of understanding about the Waterfront Park’s recycled water usage or its newness as a community asset, but it most certainly reflects a theme that emerged from our research: residents feel they are doing a good job conserving water and that others such as businesses should be asked to make further reductions.”

The centerpiece of Waterfront Park, the water fountain playground utilizes 80,000 gallons of water that are continuously recycled at a rate of 3,000 gallons per minute. The water park fountain stores and continually treats all water to minimize water usage. Additionally, the fountain has four operating modes with the “completely empty” mode wasting no water.

When asked to rate their own water conservation behaviors, on average, County residents rated themselves a 4 on a 1 to 5 scale, where 1 is make no effort and 5 is make a significant effort. 79 percent of County residents said that they have changed their water consumption habits since the drought and 89 percent agreed that residents should conserve more water in their homes.

However, when asked whether officials should impose water limits and rations for residents, only 50 percent of County residents agreed that they should be required to limit their water usage at home. 66 percent thought that businesses should be required to cut back.

The survey was produced by recently launched (W)right On Communications’ analytics division, WOC Intelligence, a data-driven decision-making initiative that strategically helps reveal the heart of key issues through expert survey development, implementation and analysis.

An online survey questioned 375 San Diego County residents between July 21 and July 24, 2014. Results weighted by age, gender, income and County region, with the margin of survey error being +/- 5.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About (W)right On Communications

Founded in 1998 in Vancouver, British Columbia, (W)right On Communications is a full-spectrum communications  and public relations firm headquartered in San Diego, California. Specializing in hospitality, healthcare, energy, technology and development, (W)right On has produced results-driven media relations, social media and promotional campaigns and programs for clients including hotels, hospitals, utilities, startups, developers and universities. To learn more about (W)right On, visit www.wrightoncomm.com.

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(W)right On Communications Launches WOC Intelligence

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New survey reveals San Diego County residents strongly favor SeaWorld fireworks

SAN DIEGO, August 21, 2014 – To gauge stakeholders’ opinions – from hyperlocal through national markets – and leverage those detailed insights for data-driven decision making, San Diego public relations firm (W)right On Communications has created WOC Intelligence.

(W)right On’s new research capability is one of the first of its kind among San Diego-based PR agencies. WOC Intelligence is a market and public opinion research service that strategically helps reveal the heart of key issues through expert survey development and skilled analysis.

“It’s part of our core values to work with client partners to develop intentional and strategic campaigns that produce exceptional results,” said Grant Wright, CEO and managing partner of (W)right On Communications. “Since intelligence gathering has long been a critical part of how we develop strategic communications plans, WOC Intelligence continues (W)right On’s investment in the right tools to ensure our strategies are informed by the best information available.”

Based from (W)right On’s Vancouver, BC, office, Director of Research and Analytics Hamish Marshall is at the helm of WOC Intelligence. A former advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada, provincial premiers, city mayors and dozens of elected officials, Marshall has strong experience throughout the USA, Canada and UK in all data collection methods to provide critical insights for strategic planning, marketing and other organizational activities.

WOC Intelligence conducted a recent survey of San Diego County residents on a variety of topics coinciding with the agency’s key practice areas in hospitality and tourism, energy and water usage, and health care. Among the results, WOC Intelligence found that the majority of San Diegans think SeaWorld should continue its fireworks. 74 percent of San Diego County residents are in favor of keeping the SeaWorld fireworks. 15 percent are either moderately or strongly opposed and 11 percent said they weren’t sure. The results did not vary between City of San Diego and South or North County residents, nor 18 to 34 year olds versus other age groups.

An online survey questioned 375 San Diego County residents between July 21 and July 24, 2014. Results weighted by age, gender, income and County region, with the margin of survey error being +/- 5.1%, 19 times out of 20.

Ideas Worth Spreading: 5 TED Talks to Inspire Your Work & Stir Curiosity

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It’s no secret that I love TED Talks. When I’m facing a tough challenge at work or need inspiration, they’re a fantastic resource. I even listen to them in the car on the way to work or on long runs. Here are a few favorites:

Simon Sinek: Start With Why

This TED talk not only changed the way I approach PR and marketing campaigns, but it changed the way I approach life. In this talk, Sinek unveils a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with the question “Why?”

Arianna Huffington: How to Succeed? Get More Sleep

In a world where most people are overworked, overstressed and under-rested – and wear it as badge of honor – Arianna Huffington’s mantra is refreshing. Huffington shares a small idea that can awaken much bigger ones: the power of a good night’s sleep. She believes we can sleep our way to increased productivity and happiness — and smarter decision-making. This is a short talk – only four minutes long and well worth your time.

Seth Godin: How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

This talk is 11 years old but is every bit as relevant today as it was back then. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.

Madeline Albright: On Being a Woman and a Diplomat

There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help women”

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks bluntly about politics and diplomacy, making the case that women’s issues deserve a place at the center of foreign policy. Far from being a “soft” issue, she says, women’s issues are often the very hardest ones, dealing directly with life and death.

Olivia Fox Cabane: Build Your Personal Charisma

OK, OK – this one isn’t a TED talk. But it’s close! This talk helped me learn a lot about active listening, eye contact, warmth, body language and presence. Olivia Fox Cabine teaches us that charisma isn’t purely innate or magical. Instead, it can be something that one cultivates.

How to Handle Crisis Communications

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If you’re at the center of a crisis when one hits, like it did April 15 when two bombs killed and maimed spectators and participants at the Boston Marathon, make this your mantra:

Communicate early. Communicate often. And communicate accurately.

Communicating early, when facts are still coming in and very little can be confirmed or validated, means at least letting stakeholders know that:

  1. You’re on it.
  2. You care.

Social media might be among the first places you let people know that your organization is working to fact find and planning to release more information as it becomes available and verified. If you’ve pre-planned your crisis communications, you will have some prepared responses to many potential crisis scenarios so that your posts are a keystroke away and do not need vetting or wordsmithing under high stress. If you have an important message that you need to get out, use social media and ask people to share your message. Many people will be glad to help.

It’s important to show people as early as possible that you are the best and most reliable source of information about your crisis and that you care. Do not assume that they realize you’re as upset, saddened, shocked or dismayed as they are. Tell them so. And if your attorneys tell you not to comment at all, just keep in mind that their primary goal is winning in the courtroom or negotiating table. They might win there, but if you don’t communicate early and empathetically, you lose in the court of public opinion and that may cost you more dearly than any court-mandated settlement. (Just sayin’. If the lawyers start driving the communications strategy, it’s game over. Think of BP in the Gulf of Mexico or Toyota with its faulty brakes.)

If people were harmed, you care deeply and are empathetic. If people have been inconvenienced, you’re sympathetic and are working furiously to ensure that everything is returned to business as usual.

The lawyers want to be sure that you’re not excessively admitting to responsibility for their inconvenience or injuries. This is valid, but it is a terrible and irreparable mistake to withhold any response and, as a result, project an image of callousness. You cannot be too compassionate. And compassion does not mean taking responsibility.

Think about this: What if the CEO of Carnival Cruises had gotten himself airlifted to the ship adrift and suffered alongside his customers? I would feel entirely differently about the problems Carnival and its passengers have suffered through if I knew its executives shared in the discomfort. And the headline would not be: “Boss of Carnival Adds Insult to Misery By Going to Basketball Game as 4,000 Suffer Aboard ‘Stinking Stricken Ship’…”.

Communicating often is essential because media coverage can be around the clock. If it’s an evolving situation, plan to hold media briefings every few hours. Listen closely on social media so you can correct misinformation that is getting passed around as it happens. Use your social media channels to release details in between media briefings. Establish a hashtag for your crisis communications on Twitter so that people can more closely follow the ‘official’ information source.

The frequency of your communications are a way of showing that you care about your stakeholders and are serving their needs and not just your own. Today, people make judgments based on your organization’s behavior and not just a carefully crafted message labored over by your attorneys, senior executives and others.

Inaccurate information can un-do all of your tremendous communications. To increase the likelihood that accurate information is presented on a timely basis, your crisis plan should have designated spokespeople, chains of command and reporting structures so that people in the field, on the scene or troubleshooting the issue know the protocol for providing updates. They should have the names and contact information of the crisis team, there should be a clear method of capturing and reporting out the information to the crisis team, and everyone in the field should know not to speak to but instead properly redirect the media and to limit internal speculation.

Stress degrades decision making, so successful communications in a crisis are typically based on a pre-existing communication plan that reasonably anticipates various crisis situations and develops responses so that they’re at the ready when a crisis hits.

Whether you have a plan or are planning on the fly, just repeat after me: communicate early, communicate often and communicate accurately.