M Booth founder/chair Margi Booth was recently honored with the Institute for PR’s 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award. We asked Margi about her most meaningful lesson from more than four decades in this business. 

When I was 24, I was working in my first PR job in the radio and TV department. I had a bank client who told me that every Christmas, his bank makes gingerbread cookies — and he wanted to get these cookies onto The Tonight Show. We decided that he would bake a life-size gingerbread man for Johnny Carson to interview on live TV. I called The Tonight Show and they were interested. 

So, a seven-foot tall cookie flew first class from Dallas to New York —with enough cookies for everyone on the flight and The Tonight Show audience. We put the cookie into a stretch limo to arrive at NBC. I told my client that I’d call him when we confirmed the cookie’s showtime. Then I waited for one night, then another and then another. As far as I know, that gingerbread cookie is still rotting in the basement of Rockefeller Center.

And that was the way the cookie crumbled. This felt like an abject, utter failure. I was sure I was going to be fired and that I would lose my client. But, after the dust settled, nothing happened to me. And I learned the lesson that would shape my career: the value of an understanding, compassionate workplace.

“When I started my own agency at 28, I knew it had to be about the people. My North Star became: inspired people do inspired work.”

To build a workplace that’s alive with courage — it had to be a place where people take risks, have fun and can be comfortable with who they genuinely are. I became somewhat obsessed with building a humane culture, one that could fuel business growth, create loyalty and energize teams to do their best work. Over the years, I learned so much of this comes down to how psychologically safe and trusted one feels in the workplace.

Research shows that psychological safety makes people feel more engaged and motivated, leads to better decision-making, and empowers people to learn from their mistakes. The critical question is: how to build and cultivate a fearless workplace? To start, I always try to remember that everyone is human first. And everyone is coming at this with their own diverse experiences and perspectives. 

I’m proud of the culture we’ve built at M Booth. But to do this right and sustainably, it always has to be a work in progress.

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Dale is being honored at the 2023 North America SABRE Awards for her 30 years of experience building brands, leading transformational change and driving business growth as both a skilled practitioner and an inspirational leader.


PRWeek’s Best place to work, two years in a row.

“When creativity and culture move in tandem, M Booth sings.”


M Booth Celebrates Wins At 2023 SABRE Awards!

At last week’s SABRE Awards North America, M Booth won the
Diamond SABRE Award for Superior Achievement in Research and Planning and CEO Dale Bornstein was recognized for Outstanding Individual Achievement.

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M Booth has a presence in 32 markets around the world in partnership with Next 15, the lovely folks who acquired us.


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