Friday, May 24th

Last updateWed, 22 May 2019 2pm

You are here: Home Section Table Village Voices Scarsdale Author Bill Doescher’s Dear Folks: Essays and Insights from a Public Relations Leader
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Scarsdale Author Bill Doescher’s Dear Folks: Essays and Insights from a Public Relations Leader

DearFolksBill Doescher and Traci Dutton Ludwig at StarbucksEveryone has a story to tell – or in the case of Bill Doescher, 41 stories.

Weaving memories into stories, Doescher has just launched a richly recounted memoir – Dear Folks: Essays and Insights from a Public Relations Leader – that was celebrated by a book-signing event at the Scarsdale train station Starbucks last Wednesday, Feb. 27.
The venue was an appropriate location for the signing because Doescher and his editor Traci Dutton Ludwig often met to discuss chapters at that Starbucks. “For about a year, we became regular features at Bill’s favorite table by the window. We’d bring a laptop and work there like it was a satellite office,” Dutton Ludwig said. “Since [Manager] Annie, [resident photographer and barista] Mark and the entire wonderful Starbucks team generously shared in the excitement of our project, we were delighted to come full circle and celebrate the finished book there. It felt like coming home.”

Dear Folks is a book for everybody. It provides sound lessons and strong insights culled from a career and life that took Doescher from a sportswriting job at a regional Binghamton, NY, newspaper to top communications positions with blue-chip companies in North Carolina and Manhattan. Its conversational narrative style resonates with personal experiences uniquely connected to Doescher’s roots in Utica, NY, his education at Colgate University and Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, his esteemed career in the public relations field, his dedicated service to Jackie Robinson Foundation, his exemplary volunteerism as a 40-year-long resident of Scarsdale, NY, his commitment to his church, his passion for golf and other sports, and his role as a husband, father and grandfather.

With a title inspired by the “Dear Folks” salutation used in the weekly family letters written by Doescher’s father and grandfather, the book’s episodic narratives are entertaining and thought-provoking. They appeal to various niche audiences as well as to anyone looking for a good read.

In his professional career of more than 50 years, Doescher has been recognized as an energetic public relations leader who saw the industry grow up with him. Two chapters, in particular, survey the field of PR from Doescher’s point of view. One involves the need for authentic and meaningful diversity within the PR industry, and the other projects how the PR profession will change as it adapts to 21C parameters. These chapters, and others, vividly portray Doescher’s talents for clear thinking, insightful observation, anticipating outcomes and developing sensible philosophies. All are personal qualities that, indeed, helped Doescher succeed in his career.

Highlights of the book are many – some expected, some surprises. While the Vice President of Advertising & Public Relations at Drexel Heritage Furnishings, Doescher recommended and supervised the company’s sponsorship of a PGA golf tournament, the Heritage Golf Classic, on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Later, Doescher’s longest corporate communications role was with Dun & Bradstreet, where for 22 years, he held increasingly responsible positions, including senior vice president & chief communications officer and publisher of D&B Reports magazine. As a former president of both the PRSA Foundation and PRSA-NY, Doescher received well-deserved leadership recognition. In 2014, he was awarded the prestigious John W. Hill Award by PRSA-NY.

In the book’s foreword, editor Dutton Ludwig remarked, “Bill’s stories demonstrate the value of engaging life with authenticity, curiosity and resolve.” She further observes that Doescher is a natural storyteller with the ability to always find the right story, at the right moment, for the right audience.

“People love the way Bill is able to share himself and his experiences through his stories. I saw that firsthand when people would stop by and chat while we were working together in Starbucks last year. Bill’s stories immediately connected with them, and they’d absolutely light up as listeners,” Dutton Ludwig said. “This same quality comes across in the book. There are many takeaways in the book, many delicious bites of wisdom to inspire reflection and thought. Since Dear Folks is equally about Bill’s life and career, it feels very whole and very real.”

Addressing Doescher’s professional acumen in the field of public relations, Maria Russell, a professor of public relations at Newhouse, was quoted in the foreword: “Bill was never content with the status quo. Like others who preceded him in PR, Bill was and is a pioneer in almost everything he does.” Whether teaching investor relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, advising CEOs, publishing a magazine, managing corporate communications departments during changing times, or mentoring students and colleagues, Doescher has always been “a counselor’s counsel.”

This description rings true, even in chapters outside Doescher’s professional career. We see the glimpses of the future man in boyhood stories about Doescher watching his father save neighbors’ lives from an assailant and later about Doescher taking care of his mother’s old classic car, as well as stories about his Aunt Elsie’s belief in him, his lifelong friendships with “The Utica Boys,” and his tenacity and determination to get into graduate school despite a less-than-perfect undergraduate GPA.

According to Dutton Ludwig, “Although Dear Folks is Doescher’s first book, its richness of detail makes it feel as if Doescher has been writing it his entire life. The author’s voice is immediate and authentic, and the lessons conveyed by storytelling are generous, personable, humorous and wise.”

Published by PR Museum Press and released in January 2019, copies of Dear Folks: Essays and Insights from a Public Relations Leader can be ordered online from Barnes & Noble (bn.com) and Amazon (amazon.com). The book will also be available at additional local Dear Folks events, forthcoming in the spring and summer.

Leave a Comment

Share on Myspace
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop