Laura Walcher, Principal Public Relations Counsel
Communications veteran, Laura Walcher, has enjoyed a long, successful career as an industry leader whose work has helped define public relations in San Diego.
Recognized today as one of San Diego’s most respected public relations professionals, Laura started with her own, one-woman agency in 1974, at a time when San Diego could claim only a handful of PR firms. Her dedicated service to longtime clients such as Bazaar del Mundo (still current); Old Town’s Fiesta Cinco de Mayo; the architectural firm of Homer Delawie; FAIA; the law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps; Vista Hill; several radio stations and the Chicago Bros. enterprises brought continued success to her agency, which grew to employ 10 full-time staffers.
In 1989, Laura merged with The Capener Company, forming one of San Diego’s largest and most diversified public relations and advertising agencies. The agency’s impressive growth attracted advertising giants Len and Jim Matthews, who acquired a significant interest in the company in 1992, renaming the agency Capener, Matthews & Walcher. Laura retired as partner and principal in 1997.
Laura’s present consultancy roles include editor, strategist and media trainer.
Throughout her public relations career, Laura has also been a prolific freelance writer. Her business features, humor columns, and op-eds, original and ghosted, appear in publications that include San Diego Home/Garden, San Diego Daily Transcript, San Diego Business Journal, the Presidio Sentinel, U-T San Diego, and others. Her business articles reveal some of the philosophies on which she has built her career: results-oriented planning, managed business growth and carefully maintained agency-client relationships. Other guiding principles include an unswerving dedication to quality and integrity, and to nurturing her employees – many of whom have made significant contributions of their own in the public relations field.
Laura has also demonstrated a strong commitment to the community, through pro-bono services to nonprofits including the San Diego Council on Literacy, for which she served as chair of their annual “Eat. Drink. Read. A Culinary Event for Literacy,” for the past three years; the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC), where she Chaired their Peacemaker Awards for seven years; the San Diego Press Club, as a long-time board member, and earlier, the Burn Institute, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith and the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce.
Among the many awards and accolades she has received, Laura was presented with the 2012 Eva Irving Community Service Award and the 2002 Otto Bos Lifetime Achievement Award by the PRSA, San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter, the 2002 Andy Mace Award for Outstanding Contributions in Public Relations by the San Diego Press Club, and numerous writing awards from the Society for Professional Journalists and the S.D. Press Club.
With significant experience in crisis communications, Laura has deftly and expertly managed media in the course of numerous crises among her clientele. The strategies to ensure fair and accurate reporting, client protection and advocacy during crises require intense and well-crafted written and oral statements, minute-to-minute monitoring of situations, and established access to and trust among both media and clients.
Laura has written and spoken about crisis communications to the public relations industry in San Diego, and has developed a step-by-step process which can guide any enterprise through the steps to a controlled, rather than a critical, situation.