Ben Butler, APR, is the founder and client services director for Top Hat— an award-winning marketing communications firm in Pittsburgh. In his past life, he served as a public relations specialist for a motorsports complex, the National Vice President of Public Relations for PRSSA, Director of Inbound Partnerships at an inbound marketing agency (GuavaBox) and Head of Communications at a SaaS startup (DoInbound). He’s been named a Top Under 40 Communicator and is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) — a distinction held by less than 20-percent of all practitioners.
Butler began his position on June 1, 2018. The below Q&A is a chance to get to know Ben and see what he will bring to the position and the Society.
Can you walk me through your PRSSA/PRSA journey?
I founded my college’s PRSSA Chapter and acted as its first president. We grew quickly to 17 members in our first year (which was a lot for our small school) and scored Star Chapter status. Our second year as a Chapter, I ran for the PRSSA National Committee and was elected as PRSSA National Vice President of Public Relations (this position’s responsibilities have since been split to two other positions).
Upon graduation, I immediately became involved in my local PRSA Chapter (PRSA Pittsburgh). Several years later, I received my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and joined our PRSA Chapter’s board as accreditation chair. Currently, I serve as our Chapter’s vice president, incoming president and accreditation chair.
Why did you decide to apply for the PRSSA National Professional Advisor position?
Serving the Society as a student member of the National Committee was one of the most impactful and enjoyable experiences I’ve had to date. Having the opportunity to bring back what I’ve learned since then to continue serving the Society in a new way? A dream come true for me.
What are you hoping to achieve during your term?
Two major categories:
In addition to providing strategic counsel to the National Committee, I want to spread the love to as many members as I can. This includes working with the PRSSA National Vice President of Professional Development to mentor Student-run Firms, along with some other tricks I have hidden up my sleeve.
2)Chapter/Professional Advisor Relationships
I’m hoping to embolden the relationships Chapters have with their professional advisors. The tip of that iceberg is to provide a template to professional advisers recommending how they should be involved every year.
The bulk of my work on this front will be to also make sure Chapters have and are engaged with their professional advisors. I’ll rely heavily on the National Committee and Regional Ambassadors to provide inside insight into how Chapters and their professional advisors are fairing.
How has your career with Top Hat shaped you to take on this position?
Starting and growing a boutique-by-design agency with big ambitions has been a baptism by fire. I’ve had the rare opportunity to be an integral part of strategizing efforts that impact bottom-lines for our own business and countless industries.
What is your advice for PRSSA Chapters looking to increase their engagement with their professional advisor?
Ask. Most professionals in our industry are beyond happy to help — you just need to be very specific about what you need and ask. If you’re dealing with a professional advisor who won’t help, then it’s time to find a new one.
If you had to create a slogan for your life, what would it be?
Work is my love language.
If you could have the answer to any question, what would that question be?
Is Bigfoot real? Don’t judge.
Describe your “perfect day”
A sunny morning. A traffic-free drive to the office. A Kalita pour over at the coffee shop down the street. A productive day. A cold beer waiting for me at the end.