In a world where anyone with a cell phone can potentially reach billions to promote their story and version of the truth, it’s harder and harder to sort fact from fiction. “Skepticism and cynicism about communications have become second nature to most listeners,” said John Onoda at the Arthur W. Page Center’s Larry Foster 2018 Awards dinner. “This leads them to presume a disparity between what leaders say and what they actually do—between the values they express and the values—or lack of values—revealed by their actions.”
Because of this skepticism, CCOs must press corporate executives more forcefully than ever to take steps that regain public trust, with Onoda advocating that CCOs step into the role of the “conscience” of companies that they work at. “We’re going to have to put ourselves on the line much more than we have in the past. We’ve got to talk about uncomfortable, ‘preachy’ things like ethics, fairness, trust, and integrity with people who can influence our compensation and our careers.”
“Prove it with action,” one of the Page Principles, is according to Onoda, “powerful in its simplicity and insight. And it is especially relevant to our current predicament because integrity is mostly a matter of acting on your values or fulfilling your promises.”
It’s this dedication to action and integrity throughout Onoda’s career that earned him a Larry Foster Award for Integrity in Public Relations from the Arthur W. Page Center. The award honors media professionals whose careers embody the ideals of committing to the truth and maintaining ethical practice in all aspects of their careers. Onoda was one of three winners recognized at the Page Center 2018 Awards in New York City, Feb 21, 2018.
“John embodies our firm's commitment to integrity and ethical behavior,” said Gagen MacDonald founder and CEO Maril MacDonald, “and we’re honored to have him on our team.” A former chief communications executive for The Charles Schwab Corp., Visa USA, General Motors, and Levi Strauss & Co., John Onoda is now a senior corporate counselor at Gagen MacDonald who infuses integrity and trust into his work to help advise clients on corporate character, culture and business transformation.
About the Arthur W. Page Center
The Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication is a research center at the Penn State College of Communications dedicated to the study and advancement of ethics and responsibility in corporate communication and other forms of public communication.