Kirk is frequently called upon to advise and assist businesses facing uncertain futures as a consultant. As a journalist, she knows how to ask the pressing questions. As a senior academic researcher, she argues that the “primary function of research is to reduce uncertainty in decision making” and shares that information in hopes that it helps organizations make better choices. She is now looking for an opportunity to apply these skills on behalf of a company as a fiduciary board member.
"Public arguments deserve the highest level of ethical practice and the stiffest critique."
The ability to forecast and assess risks, review crisis management and response, and align corporate resources with values is critical to any business’s long-term success. In an era when data risks are evolving as standard disclosures in SEC filings, businesses are constantly working to identify emergent issues and respond appropriately. Effective research can assess market opportunities and develop strategies to minimize the impact of aggressive competition. Research can empower ideas and aid in building coalitions with similar goal-oriented partners.
Kirk’s contacts in business circles provide a broad perspective on the issues of the day and key players in those environments. She frequently counsels domestic and international public and private sector organizations on strategic communication campaigns, market analysis, and stakeholder engagement. Kirk advises clients on a range of ethical issues ranging from impact investing to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to Ethics & Compliance issues. Business clients have included companies such as CNL Properties, Baylor Health Care Systems (now Baylor Scott & White), The Marketing Arm (a division of OmniCom), J.M. Huber, TU Electric, and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. She has served as public affairs counsel on projects for Edelman Public Relations, Bustin & Company, and Hill & Knowlton. She began her career as the primary strategist for numerous political campaigns ranging from local races to the U.S. Congress.
Kirk is a Peabody Award winning journalist. She served as an analyst for CNN during the last four Presidential elections, covering the primary and general election debates as well as both political party conventions. Her academic books include: Political Empiricism: Communications Strategies in State and Regional Elections, which won the “Best Book in Applied Communication” from the National Communication Association; Hate Speech, a book analyzing implications for hate discourse in public communication, with coeditor David Slayden, which was awarded the Outstanding Book on the subject of Human Rights in North America and the James Madison Prize for work on free speech; and the highly reviewed Solo Acts: The Death of Discourse in a Wired World.
Dr. Kirk is available for service as a board director of a corporation, and paid advisory board position, or consulting based on her deep expertise in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, as well as diversity and inclusion. Her background as an academic trained in journalism, research, ethics, and communication strategy, as well as her rich corporate and political consulting experience, can provide invaluable insights and processes to any large company’s governance oversight in these important and rapidly evolving areas.
Dr. Kirk looks forward to talking with senior management and board nominating committee members about applying her lifetime of knowledge to support achievement of their company objectives.
Rita Kirk (Ph.D., University of Missouri) is a business and management consultant assisting clients with ESG issues as well as communication and marketing strategy. Currently, she is the William F. May Endowed Director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility as well as an Altshuler Distinguished Professor in Corporate Communication & Public Affairs at Southern Methodist University.
Previous Consulting Clients Include:
Assisted Organizations with areas of concern including:
"The primary function of research is to reduce uncertainty in decision making."
Professor, Ethics & Compliance Certificate, Co-Sponsored by The Maguire Ethics Center, the Cox School fo Business, and the Dedman School of Law at SMU.