December 2001

Ann Carden, APR -
Charming Dynamo


by Joseph RADDER

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In the world of banking, APR stands for annual percentage rate. In the world of public relations APR means Accredited Public Relations practitioner, Indeed, Ann Carden achieves a very high annual percentage of the area’s public relations accomplishments. She’s a very busy person. On the day of our meeting, for example, she had been fielding one media call after another regarding Rush Limbaugh. He had just announced his deafness. A director of communications for the Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center, Ann Carden is recognized by the media as a reliable authority on this subject.

The Center, located at 50 East North Street in Buffalo, with branches at 420 Evans Street in Williamsville and 87 Main Street in Silver Creek, provides important speech-language and hearing services for many children and adults who would otherwise be unable to obtain treatment for their disability.

Sixty percent of all patients served by the Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center, funded by the New York Department of Education, third party payers and the generosity of friends in the community, are under the age of 5 and over the age of 65. Eighty percent of the children enrolled in the center’s preschool program are classified as living at or below the poverty level.

Ann Carden arrived at the Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center in June 1998, at the peak of a brilliant career in media and public relations. She had been manager of public relations and advertising for Kaleida Health and communications manager of the Millard Fillmore Health System. Simultaneously, she was an Adjunct Professor in public relations at Buffalo State College and sole proprietor of ARC Communications, a provider of free-lance PR writing and design services. Prior to 1996, Ann Carden was with the Visiting Nursing Association, first as community public relations specialist and later as communications manager of the VNA HealthCare Group. During this time she was also a weekend news anchor at WWKB and WGR.

Ann came to Buffalo in 1982 to become a writer and anchor person at WEBR News Radio. She had been news director and anchor for two years at WRNR in Martinsburg, West Virginia. “My friends wondered how I could leave my hometown for a city where I didn’t know anyone.” Obviously it turned out to be a very wise move.

“I grew up in the horse and orchard country of the Shenandoah Valley in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia,” Ann told us. “I went to high school in Martinsburg and college at West Virginia University.” There she earned a BS cum laude in broadcast journalism. After coming to Buffalo she received a master’s degree summa cum laude in PR management at Buffalo State College.

Her first job at WRNR provided excellent experience. “In a small station you do everything,” she said. Soon she became news director, “but after a couple of years it was time to move on so I began sending out resumes.”

Needless to say, Ann Carden was delighted when the opportunity to join Buffalo’s PBS station presented itself. “There was a unique atmosphere at WEBR in those days,” she recalled, “and a wonderful esprit d’ corps. At that time we had the biggest radio news staff in the state outside of New York City.”

Ann is married to Michael Carden. They have two children, Stephen, who is a junior at Frontier High School, and Margaret who is a sophomore at the University of Rochester. “Both of my kids are very good students and nice people,” she said with a proud smile. Clearly there’s a lot of love in the Carden family.

As if raising a family, doing free-lance writing and handling a heavy load of work at her full-time job weren’t enough, Ann is involved in numerous organizations. She is Accreditation Chair of the Buffalo/Niagara Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America where she was on the board from 1991 to 1997 and president in 1996. She is a member of the board of directors of Asbury Shalom Zone, which operates a job training center in a high poverty area of the city. Her husband, Michael Carden, and the Carden children have also worked as volunteers there. Ann also is currently an Adjunct Professor at Fredonia State College.

Ann Carden is a member of the Communications Work Council of the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus, a member of the board of directors of the New York State Junior Miss Scholarship program and has served as a member of the marketing committee for Buffalo Place. Currently, she is helping to organize a $4.7 million building program for the Hamburg United Methodist Church.

Awards received are numerous including the Outstanding Practitioner Award and 12 Excalibur Awards from PRSA. She was named Corporate Service MVP in 1999 by the Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center and she received an Ambassador Award from the City of Buffalo in 1989.

Articles and papers Ann Carden has had published are too numerous to list here. They range all the way from a presentation on “The Fundamentals of Lobbying” to her published article “Skating on Thin Ice, the Saga of the Buffalo Sabres.”

What motivates a person of such tremendous energy? The answer to that question is pretty much summed up in Ann Carden’s philosophy of life: “Having no regrets, not having to look back and ask ‘what if?’ ” And her gentle personality shows when she says, “I always try to play nice. In other words, be kind to people.”

Is it coincidence that so many successful people are nice people too? I don’t think so.



Joseph Radder is a freelance writer.

 

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