Joan Capelin

Strategist, author, advocate, public speaker – Joan Capelin is a public relations master whose specialty is to build and protect the reputation of professional services organizations, notably those in design, construction, and real estate development.

After working in-house for government, a civic organization, and professional service firms, she began her own communications strategy and public relations consulting firm in 1981. Several hundred clients have benefited from her firm’s analysis and activities.

Her achievements, support of the business-based professional services, and leadership in public relations have earned her the Marketing Achievement Award of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), as well as the rank of Fellow and Lifetime Member status.  She was also made an Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects, the highest recognition the AIA gives to someone who is not an architect.

Joan is equally highly regarded in the public relations community, where she is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).  She was elected chairman of the PRSA College of Fellows in 1999 and in 2009 became the first recipient of the Outstanding Leadership Award conferred by the College of Fellows for “embodying and demonstrating the finest qualities of leadership to the profession of public relations.”   In 2001, PRSA/New York honored her with its prestigious John W. Hill Award as that city’s outstanding public relations professional.  Joan is also past president of Women Executives in Public Relations (WEPR).

Her 2004 title, Communication by Design – first published in a limited edition by SMPS as Principles for Principals – is a classic.  She is a sought-after speaker at conferences, as well as for professional and university programs.  Joan often writes articles about professional services marketing, communications, and management, and she provides the “Compelling Communications” column for the award-winning SMPS Marketer.  She has contributed to both editions of the SMPS Marketing Handbook for the Design & Construction Professional and served as editor for 40 Effective Newsletters by A/E Firms.

Joan holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and an M.A. from the Middlebury Graduate School of French.  She was a Fulbright Scholar for a year in Paris while she completed her Masters degree.

Joan receiving the SMPS Marketing Acheivement Award, 1990

Joan receiving the SMPS Marketing Acheivement Award, 1990

“I started in public relations as an editor for my first professional services client, a management consultant, when I was 16,” Joan notes. “He was my father, a really tough assignment for a kid.  When I look at the young account executives on our staff, it surprises and gratifies me to realize I’ve actually invented an entire public relations specialty,” she comments. “We haven’t lost our edge, either; we still set the pace.”