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Rich Phillips, Dan Rather Explore ‘Leadership and the Art of Communication’ at Company’s 10th Anniversary Event

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Dan Rather, Rich Phillips

AUSTIN, Texas (Oct. 4, 2013) – Phillips & Company, the global communications firm, hosted “Leadership and the Art of Communication” with special guest Dan Rather. The celebration honored the company’s 10-year anniversary and Rather’s contributions to communications and journalism across the globe.

On Thursday, Sept. 26, civic, government and business leaders arrived at One World Theatre in Austin to engage the audience in a candid and intimate conversation between former CBS news anchor Dan Rather and Phillips & Company President Rich Phillips. Rather, 82, has covered our nation’s greatest events throughout his lifetime and has interviewed every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

He provided unique and often detailed insights from his career covering NASA – from Apollo moon shot days to the Space Shuttle program to current deep space exploration initiatives – politics and public policy, to the assignation of President Kennedy and the attacks of 9/11. He and Phillips discussed the role of leadership, as well as the attributes of great leaders during these times.

“Leadership requires great communication skills,” said Rather, who believes the mark of a successful leader is to be a great communicator. “People don’t get to leadership positions without having and demonstrating great communication skills.” Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Ji Chaozhu are four of the most skilled leaders Rather said he has ever interviewed.

Rather expressed the importance of the United States demonstrating and maintaining its leadership in space exploration. “I don’t see it as a debatable choice,” he said. “The deeper we go into space, the faster we go into space, the better we become.” To Rather, space is the “final frontier” and an important endeavor for being a leader in the global economy.

Rather also discussed the impact that 9/11 had on the country and the professional obligations journalists faced in the aftermath of the devastation. “You can’t afford yourself that emotion,” he said. “Journalists must continue to have laser focus.”

Throughout the interview Rather and Phillips discussed communication and leadership in politics and corporate America, changes impacting journalism and the changes that have come from the Internet and digital media, free speech, mass media and national security concerns. Rather also took questions from the audience and appeared to sincerely enjoy the exchanges.

Following the hour-long discussion with Phillips and audience members, Rather signed his newest book, “Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News,” during the networking reception and lively 10-year anniversary celebration for Phillips & Company.

“Interviewing Mr. Rather was quite an honor,” said Phillips. “Having met and worked with so many political and social leaders and communicators over the years, he eloquently framed a historical foundation and took a hard look into the direction of leadership in the art of communications. We were very pleased to have had him join us to celebrate Phillips & Company’s 10 years in business.”

Now, after 24 years as a well-known CBS news anchor, Rather is managing editor and anchor of Dan Rather Reports, a television news magazine.

Local CBS affiliate, KEYE Austin, covered the event.  To view this news segment, please click here.

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