Diplomacy alumni remain actively involved in the life of the School of Diplomacy long after graduation. They serve as mentors to current students, attend events, and continue to foster the community they found at Seton Hall. One way in which they do all of the above, is by serving on the School's Board of Overseers. Ms. Gail Thornton, a long-time dedicated Board member, recently published her second book and was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the Public Relations Society of America.
Thornton earned her B.A. in Journalism from Rider University, and an M.A. from the School of Diplomacy in 2003. She is the founder of Worldview Communications, a global communications consultancy which partners with clients in pharmaceuticals, health care and biotechnology. She describes her passion, public relations, as "working in an uncertain, constantly evolving world – and understanding multi-cultural perspectives. It's recognizing that media, cultural values, economic influences, and ways of doing things differ from country to country."
In recognition of her excellent work in the field, she was awarded the 2018 Atlas Award for Lifetime Achievement in Public Relations by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The Atlas Award is given to a public relations practitioner who has made extraordinary contributions to the international public relations field throughout their career. Prior to winning this prestigious award, she served as chair of PRSA's International Section.
In her past corporate roles, she was tasked with reshaping communications and working with teams across the globe for five different multinational companies. In a statement on her reaction to the award, Thornton says, "I have dedicated my career to moving the needle forward in this dynamic field through my corporate work, my academic research, and my published work. But the key to success is simple – it's about growing and maintaining relationships and respecting different viewpoints." She cites her upbringing and the opportunities she has had to travel and work with people from different cultures and backgrounds as vital to her progress in the field.
In addition to Thornton's extensive career in public relations and communications, she is a published author. She has written on topics relating to health and wellness, international communications, and emerging markets in the Journal of International Relations and Diplomacy, Global Health Governance online journal, PR Strategist, Frontline magazine of the International Public Relations Association and Pharmaceutical Executive magazine, as well as The Huffington Post and Thrive Global.
In 2014, she authored a book chapter on internal communications and the value of employee engagement for a Portuguese communications textbook. She recently co-edited and authored a communications textbook, Strategic Employee Communication: Building a Culture of Engagement, published by Palgrave Macmillan (2018), and co-edited and authored The Voices of Patients, Hospital CEOs, Health Care Providers, Caregivers and Families: Personal Experience with Critical Care and Invasive Medical Procedures, an e-book on patient-centered medicine offered on Amazon/KindleDirect (2017).
Throughout her overall career, she has managed global communications, corporate and franchise public relations, media relations, employee communications, issues management and industry analyst relations. She has provided strategic counsel and support to senior executives, built a team of communicators in all international markets, handled internal and external communications, and headed communications at organizations such as Merck, Schering-Plough, Pfizer, Inc., Pharmacia Corporation, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
We look forward to her continued guidance through the Board, and enthusiastically await the opportunity to call her Dr. Thornton, when she finishes her Ph.D. in Health Sciences at Seton Hall.
Learn more about the company we keep by viewing our Board of Overseers list here.