Jim Wills is founder of Wills Consulting Associates and personally leads every engagement the firm undertakes.
He brings to each WCA engagement more than 30 years of success in the corporate communications and public relations search field—built on the perspective gained from a pre-search career in corporate communications, agency public relations, and management consulting—in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City.
Clients have included Alexion Pharmaceuticals, APCO Worldwide, Apple Inc., Bank of America, Battelle Memorial Institute, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Burson-Marsteller, Clairol, Converse, CreditSuisse, Deloitte & Touche, Dominion Resources, Edison Electric Institute, Frito-Lay, Fortune Magazine, The McGraw-Hill Companies, GlaxoSmithKline, General Electric, IBM Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, JP Morgan & Co., Ketchum Public Relations, KPMG, Lenovo Group, MasterCard International, Merck & Co., The New York Stock Exchange, and Washington (DC) Hospital Center/MedStar Health. Many of these have been multi-engagement clients.
Pre-search, Jim held communications management positions with McKesson Corp. in San Francisco and with Booz Allen & Hamilton in New York City. Also at Booz Allen, he received training as a management consultant—a discipline he applies to the firm’s search and consulting engagements. In the public relations agency sector, Jim held account management positions with predecessors to Hill and Knowlton and Ogilvy Public Relations in San Francisco and Seattle, respectively, and with global leader Burson-Marsteller in New York.
Along the way, he gained functional experience in the areas that form the core of the WCA search portfolio. These included issue tracking and management, public affairs and government relations, internal communications, financial communications and investor relations, B2B and B2C marketing communications, media relations, integrated communications, and corporate communications program planning and implementation.
He leveraged this background to enter the communications search field in New York City in the mid-1980s and launched WCA in 1997.
Jim has spoken on a variety of professional development and public relations industry issues before a wide assortment of academic and professional groups. Some topics: Targeted Networking: Identifying, and Communicating with, the Person Who Might Actually Hire You; Communications Convergence and Web 2.0; IR without Gatekeepers— Foundations and Applications; and Job Hunting Strategies for the New Communications Graduates.
Jim is a graduate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications of San Jose State University and, in addition to his Booz Allen training, completed executive development courses from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School (corporate finance) and Harvard Business School (marketing). His memberships include the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI), the Public Relations Society of America, and the Society for Human Resources Management. He also sits on the Steering Committee of the St. Catherine of Siena Support Circle (Riverside, CT), a group dedicated to helping professionals “in transition” identify and secure their next career opportunity.
He resides with his family in Fairfield County, CT.