Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Cheers to Vivian Deuschl, a Class Act Leaving Ritz-Carlton
I waited for a while to offer this little tribute to Vivian Deuschl, the longtime vice president for public relations at Ritz-Carlton who was eased out of that job earlier this month in a realignment by her bosses at Marriott International, the company that owns the Ritz-Carlton brand.
I waited till Vivian had actually left the building with whatever arrangements she was making to soften the landing.
Because I have always had the good fortune to work for major news organizations, I've met and had professional dealings over many years with all of the top PR people in the industry, and Vivian was one of the very best.
Vivian knew a good story when she saw one. She understood how serious reporters work.
You never got a song and dance when you went to Vivian with a question or seeking access. Some PR people get you access to middle-management. Assuming she trusted you, Vivian would deliver the boss to you -- and then get out of the way unless you needed something more.
She never ducked a tough question, and always represented Ritz-Carlton with skill and savvy and unflagging energy. A five-star hotel brand is many things besides fancy rooms and lavish service. It's also people with savoir faire, with intelligence and experience and class.
Vivian Deuschl had all that, especially class. Make that has class, because she's starting a new career as a consultant. Travel reporters all over America, and in fact around the world, respected her. I always took her calls, which is saying something, because as a rule I encourage PR people to e-mail me, not to call. When Vivian called, you knew she had something to say that would be worth listening to.
I wish her great fortune in her new ventures, and I wish the great Ritz-Carlton company good luck in managing without her firm guidance -- and her contacts.
Here's the citation for Vivian that was made last year by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, which honored her for PR excellence:
"As corporate vice president of public relations for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC., Vivian A. Deuschl manages worldwide public relations efforts for the renowned luxury brand. She joined Ritz-Carlton in 1987 and rose up the ranks to become corporate director of public relations in 1991, representing the company to global media as official corporate spokesperson.
Deuschl has an extensive background in the travel and tourism sector, holding positions as public relations director for the American Society of Travel Agents, special assistant to the under secretary of commerce for travel and tourism, and communications manager for the Washington, D.C., Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Previous honors include Forbes Magazine’s “25 Most Influential Women in Travel” award in 2008, three-time recipient of Travel Agent Magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in Travel Award,” and two-time winner of The President’s Plate, SATW’s highest award for a PR professional. A former journalist, Deuschl served two terms as chairman of the Associates Council for the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). A former member of the Communications Committee for USTA, Deuschl currently serves as a member of the U.S. Travel Association’s communications committee. In 2001, Deuschl served as chair of the media relations task force formed in the wake of 9/11. ..."
I look forward to learning what she will do next. And yes, Vivian, call anytime. You have the number.