Gainesville, Fla. – The Institute for Public Relations (IPR) Board of Trustees has elected three new Directors for the IPR Commissions and Centers for Excellence. The Directors help guide the mission, research, and strategy of each of these centers based on critically important long-term areas of interest determined by Trustees.

“We are thrilled with the election of these new directors for these three critically important commissions,” said IPR President and CEO Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR.  “We look forward to seeing how each leader will help build upon an already strong foundation of research and thought leadership to make these Centers of Excellence even better.”

The three new directors are:

IPR Digital Media Research Center (DMRC)
— Olivia Petersen, Vice President and Head of Communications, Morning Consult

IPR Measurement Commission
— Julie O’Neil, Ph.D., APR, Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Administration, Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University

IPR Organizational Communication Research Center (OCRC)
— Ethan McCarty, Founder and CEO, Integral

Olivia Petersen – IPR Digital Media Research Center
Olivia Petersen is director of the Digital Media Research Center beginning in 2022. Petersen succeeds Dr. Marcia DiStaso, previous director of the Digital Media Research Center.

Olivia Petersen is Vice President and Head of Communications for Morning Consult, leading the global decision intelligence company’s communications team. She previously worked for Whole Foods Market as a Global Communications Director, where she was instrumental in executing crisis communications and assisting in corporate messaging for the company and its more than 500 stores. Prior to that, Petersen served as the Senior Communications Director for NBC News, overseeing hard news promotion across broadcasts as well as leading communications strategy for the network’s Washington bureau, including “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd.”

Dr. Julie O’Neil, APR – IPR Measurement Commission
Dr. Julie O’Neil is director of the Measurement Commission beginning in 2022. Dr. O’Neil succeeds Mo Hamid, who previously served as director of the Commission.

Dr. O’Neil is a Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Administration at the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University. She has published and presented more than ninety peer reviewed journal articles, proceedings, and conference papers on topics ranging from organization public relationships, nonprofit communication, employee communication, standards, and media source credibility. Dr. O’Neil is also the Senior Associate Editor of the Public Relations Journal.

Ethan McCarty – IPR Organizational Communication Research Center
Ethan McCarty is director of the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center beginning in 2022. McCarty succeeds Gary Grates, previous director of the Organizational Communication Research Center.

McCarty is founder and CEO of Integral, an employee activation agency serving leaders of Communications, HR, Marketing, and Technology at organizations global and local alike. Formerly the global head of Employee and Innovation Communications for Bloomberg LP and Global Director of Social Strategy for IBM, McCarty has more than 20 years of experience leading digital communications, engagement, and marketing initiatives at scale. He has led large globally and culturally diverse remote teams by innovating and humanizing the practice and advising senior leaders from the CEO down among his clients on how to do the same. He is a lecturer at Columbia University on Employee Activation and Digital Media & Analytics.

In partnership with the Harris Poll, Ethan’s firm, Integral, recently published the Integral Employee Activation Index, a study of +2,000 employees representing four generations,
a cross-section of industries, and company sizes who shared their workplace experience and perceptions on mindset, priorities, compensation, and values against 25 societal and political topics.

About the Institute for Public Relations
Founded in 1956, the Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit foundation dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. IPR creates, curates, and promotes research and initiatives that empower professionals with actionable insights and intelligence they can put to immediate use.  IPR predicts and analyzes global factors transforming the profession, and amplifies and engages the professional globally through thought leadership and programming. All research is available free at and provides the basis for IPR’s professional conferences and events.


Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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