Using the Code of Ethics to Inform Your Leadership Style [National Assembly Recap]

IMG_7940Session: Ethical Leadership: Using the Code of Ethics to Inform Your Leadership Style

Presenters: Jo Ann LeSage Nelson, APR, Vice President, Client Services, Pierce Communications; Heather Harder, Senior Account Executive, Prosek Partners; PRSSA 2016–2017 Vice President of Advocacy Andrew Cook; PRSSA 2016–2017 Vice President of Professional Development Liz Skeele; PRSSA 2016–2017 Vice President of Career Services Sarah Dougherty


Trust in the media is at an all-time low, and ethics are more important than ever. During this leadership training session, several National Committee members led us through group discussions and exercises that put our own ethical guidelines to the test. While discussing real-world cases, we were able to better understand the value of honesty and how far a simple apology can go.

While credibility can take years to build, it only takes seconds to destroy. If you lose the trust of your colleagues, you also are losing your ability to succeed. Remember, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right; and the right choice won’t always be the most popular. People will hold you to a standard, and as a leader you must hold yourself to a standard as well.

Ethics vary, whether they are personal, universal or cultural. When making tough calls the lines aren’t always black and white, and the PRSA Code of Ethics is here to help.

“I don’t care how smart you are or how creative you are, if you don’t have integrity, you will not succeed in this career,” said LeSage Nelson.


  • Transparency is key.
  • Work for a company with the same moral code as you.
  • Speak up when you think a situation is unethical.

Jasmine Larsen is a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati studying communications in public relations. She is a public relations intern at Michael Web Solutions and serves her PRSSA Chapter as a member of the Events and Fundraising Committee.

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