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The US Chamber of Commerce is one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the US—and with pro-business, anti-regulation Republicans in command of the Washington power structure, it is now more influential than ever. And Thomas Collamore, senior VP of communications and strategy and counselor to the Chamber’s president wields significant influence within the organization, responsible for communications, including media outreach, web strategy, advertising, publications, member interface, and branding.
During his tenure at the Chamber, Collamore has spearheaded the creation of the Campaign for Free Enterprise, a long-term program to defend, protect, and advance a free enterprise system based on individual initiative, limited government, and private sector-led growth. He also oversees America’s Small Business Summit, the Chamber’s largest annual member event.
Before joining the Chamber in October 2007, Collamore spent 14 years with Altria Group as vice president of corporate public affairs and as chief of staff and assistant secretary of commerce in the George H.W. Bush administration.
Can you share a moment in your career that you recognized PR's direct impact on business performance?
In 2010 President Obama accused the Chamber of using foreign money in the elections. While completely untrue, having such a credible source make such an accusation required a comprehensive rapid response effort to avoid lasting reputation and business damage. Great teamwork and focus allowed us to be successful in exposing the claim as a cynical political attack.
What are the industry's biggest challenges and opportunities?
Separating fact from fiction in a very cluttered space.
How do you handle the unexpected?
Stay calm, gather the facts, be flexible and keep a sense of humor!
How do you relax?
Spending time with my wife and kids and watching my beloved Red Sox
Book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
doing something far less interesting!
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