Throughout a lifetime of communicating, Dave Gilbert has seen the world through the lens of a newspaper reporter, press secretary for one of the nation’s leading governors, corporate executive of a large bank clawing its way out of failure, leader of an international public relations firm, head of his own firm, and a few other stops in between. Those experiences led to making contacts worldwide, some of whom are now his “associates” – experienced professionals he calls on at any given time to work on any given issue.
Dave Gilbert counsels a variety of clients ranging from the major food provider for Chicago Public Schools, a large medical association representing thousands of physicians, a faith-based non-profit ministering to a thousand kids in Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods, and others. Specializing in crisis communications, he’s counseled corporations, associations, law firms, their clients and individuals.
Starting his journalistic career on the night shift of City News Bureau of Chicago, Dave Gilbert quickly learned the flashing blue mars lights atop a police car could not only spell trouble but a good story. Or, covering the Chicago Seven, camped out in Lincoln Park during the historic 1968 Democratic National Convention and its ensuing riots taught him to check wind direction when tear gas is in the air. Or, rising through the ranks of the “World’s Greatest Newspaper” only to take the risky leap and become press secretary for a rookie candidate for governor who won his first election by the largest majority in state history, told him sometimes you ignore friends’ advice and do what you think is right. Or, leading the effort to change the image and reputation of a failed international bank with millions of dollars and thousands of investors at risk meant breaking the mold of the old bank with a new, upbeat campaign. Or, working with the internal team announcing the “merger heard ‘round the world” between Chrysler and Daimler Benz; then counseling top execs there were serious media reservations about two diverse cultures merging successfully: Was it a merger of equals or a takeover? Or, counseling the mayor of the nation’s third largest (but best) city to bring the headquarters of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer to his city by touting the city’s Nobel Laureates, universities, opera and world-renowned symphony and not trotting out Oprah and Michael Jordan. Or…the stories could go on for some time. But the long and short of it all is that success relies on “Experience, the great teacher who tells you to never do that again, do it again only better, or take the big leap of faith.” It’s all been worth it.