Laura Walcher, Local Industry Beacon

For her innovative spirit and long-revered excellence in public relations, Laura Walcher was awarded the Otto Bos Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.


Her industry achievements made her a northern star for others in the PR business, as she established her own firm in 1974, when the San Diego region could only claim a few firms. Walcher represented many iconic San Diego events, grand openings and businesses, including the Bazaar del Mundo and its  Latin American Festival, San Diego Trolley’s 100,000 Rider Celebration, Torrey Pines Bank’s 10th Anniversary, U.S. Marine Corps Birthday Celebration, KPBS TV Auction and the Fiesta de Cinco de Mayo.


The one-woman business eventually turned into an 11-person agency, which then, in 1989, merged with The Capener Company, forming one of San Diego’s largest public relations and advertising agencies. Three years later, the agency was noticed by advertising giants Len and Jim Matthews, who acquired a significant interest in the company in 1992, and renamed the agency Capener, Matthews & Walcher.  Walcher retired as partner and principal in 1997.


Walcher currently serves in a consultancy role as a strategist and editor at J. Walcher Communications (JWC). Team members call her the “PR Fairy Godmother” for her continued presence and dedication to the industry, along with her wordsmithing skills and crisis messaging and media training background.


As a known San Diego industry leader with significant crisis communications experience, Walcher has expertly developed a step-by-step process which can guide any enterprise through the steps to a controlled, rather than a critical, situation, including strategies to ensure fair and accurate reporting, best practices when crafting written and oral statements and tips to establish trust among both media and clients.


Walcher has also demonstrated a strong commitment to the community, through pro-bono services to nonprofits including the San Diego Council on Literacy, for which she served as chair of their annual “Eat. Drink. Read. A Culinary Event for Literacy,” multiple times; the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC), where she Chaired their Peacemaker Awards for seven years; the San Diego Press Club, as a long-time board member and past president, and earlier, the Burn Institute, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith and the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce. 


In addition, Ms. Walcher has received numerous other awards and accolades including: the 2002 Otto Bos Lifetime Achievement Award by the Public Relations Society of America (San Diego Chapter), the 2002 Andy Mace Award for Outstanding Contributions in Public Relations by the San Diego Press Club, numerous writing awards from the San Diego Press Club Journalism Awards and the Society for Professional Journalists, and Public Relations Professional of the Year for two consecutive years, by SAMM Magazine (1991-2) and in 1993 by the Public Relations Club of San Diego. 


Her endless elegance and experience paired with her exemplary service to longtime (and still current with JWC) clients is highly regarded, and today, 17 years after her Otto Bos Hall of Fame induction, Walcher is still actively respected, connected and enjoying relationships with former clients, media and many San Diego PR pros who have worked under her tutelage.  


Visit PRSA San Diego’s digital Hall of Fame to see the timeline of winners from the award’s inception in 1992. You can be part of this year’s Otto Bos Hall of Fame celebration at the Edward L. Bernays Mark of Excellence Awards on Thursday, November 7 at Andaz San Diego. Visit our website to learn more.

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