Nick Ragone is an author, attorney and public relations executive in New York City. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Rutgers University, and is a graduate of the Eagleton Institute of Political Science at Rutgers University (undergraduate) and the Georgetown University Law Center.

He is the author of three books: Essential American Government, Everything American Government, and President's Most Wanted. Nick is a regular contributor to the Fox News Channel and Fox Business, the PIX11 Morning Show, and has a weekly appearance on the popular Raph Bailey Radio Show.  He co-anchored PIX11's five-hour live inauguration coverage with Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong.

Nick is a contributor to Donklephant.com, one of the most influential political blogs on the web, and  has written for US News & World Report, The Star-Ledger, Real Simple Magazine and RealSimple.com.  Nick has been quoted in over two dozen stories on politics, the presidency, and public relations.  In December of 2007, Nick was named one of PR Week's 40 under 40 to watch, and in May of 2008 was featured in "Profiles of Success", a book about public relations. Nick lives in Jersey City, NJ, with his wife and two children, and spends what little free time he has obsessing on the Mets.

Nick can also be found on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=740817853




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Comms is now a part of CEO's job description

** work alert**

Interesting op-ed in PRWeek from Alan Miller, CEO of Universal Health Services (NYSE: UHS), on the importance of CEO as communicator:

There's no such thing as a local story, a trade story, or even purely internal communication anymore. Everything has the ability to circumvent the globe at light speed, and corporate leaders are starting to become aware of this.

Given this backdrop, the natural instinct for some leaders has been to be less communicative and engaged with the media and other audiences. Why risk saying anything when we have less control over the outcome and the audiences it reaches? Hiding behind a virtual moat and letting others do the talking would seem the easier and safer route, so the thinking goes.

Perhaps. But it's also less credible. Stakeholders want to hear from business leaders - in particular CEOs - on a regular basis. They want to know what we're thinking, and not just about our own company, but about the larger industry we represent, the communities we serve, and the world we live in. We have a unique vantage point in that we represent the broadest set of constituencies. Invariably, that vantage point shapes our views.

Shareholders, employees, industry leaders, the media - they're all interested in hearing our point of view on issues, and it's part of the job of the CEO to communicate. My advice to aspiring CEOs out there: Take the role of communications seriously because it's a requirement of the position. You can't rely on the CEO's letter in the annual report and a few canned quotes in press releases to do your communicating any longer.

I make it a point to speak with the media on a regular basis, and not just around earnings, but on broader issues, too. Whether we have a good or a bad quarter, people want to know what I'm thinking and they want to know that I'm engaged. It's easy to talk to reporters when things are going swimmingly, but it's probably more important to communicate when things aren't always on plan. I think consistent communications with reporters - not hiding behind press releases - builds credibility over time with analysts, employees, the media, and other stakeholders. It also accrues in a positive way to a company's reputation over the long run.

I'm in the healthcare industry - my company owns and operates hospitals around the country. This has been an interesting time for the healthcare sector, to put it mildly. Healthcare reform has been the dominant conversation in our national dialogue for months, and will likely remain that way through the end of the year.  Even the economy has taken a back seat to this discussion - something that doesn't happen very often.

Not surprisingly, the media and other stakeholders are curious to know what I think about the healthcare reform debate.  As a leader in that sector, it's important to be engaged in the conversation; it would strike an odd chord if I wasn't. I've been on CNBC, Fox News, and Bloomberg Television numerous times over the past months, giving my perspective on what healthcare reform could mean for my company, the sector, and the economy at large. I've spoken to print reporters, and I even penned an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal - something I've done on occasion over the years.

In fact, the Journal piece has led to a book that I'm finishing up on healthcare reform, which will be out in late November. I never imagined that I would write a book, but I felt compelled to expound on my thoughts. It's been a fun, challenging, and creative process, and has really forced me to think through the issues in a much deeper and critical way.   

To aspiring executives, I repeat: Communications is a growing part of the job description. You can no longer lead a company without communicating your leadership, plain and simple.

Alan Miller is chairman and CEO of Universal Health Services (NYSE: UHS), which he founded in 1978. A Fortune 500 Company, UHS is one of the largest hospital management companies in the nation. It owns and operates 132 facilities in 32 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. Net revenues of the company are in excess of $5 billion annually.

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