Steve Rohr ’92 didn’t expect to be a red carpet regular, but the Oscars publicist says his training in forensics and student leadership positions helped him get there.
The political science and communication double major wasn’t sure of what he wanted to do after graduation. He knew he thrived in creative environments and was always interested in entertainment, but the Montana native didn’t have any connections in the industry.
“So I did what a Cobber does … get to work and try to earn your way,” says Rohr.
Rohr started his career as an intern for a CBS station in Los Angeles, became a full-time field producer for CBS News and eventually transitioned into a role in public relations.
Spending most of his career as a personal publicist, Rohr worked with actors, recording artists, authors, designers and even films. Rohr says promoting his clients involves continually advocating for them and that often means he is supporting them at various award shows. Rohr was first invited to the Oscars when his client, Hal Holbrook, was nominated for an Academy Award for the 2007 film “Into the Wild.”
Now Rohr is the publicist for the Academy Awards show, which is viewed by millions of people worldwide.
While being responsible for something of that magnitude can be daunting, Rohr says he trusts the skills he’s built up over the course of his career.
“You’ve been put there for a reason. You’re here. You have to do your best and navigate as best you can and hope for the best. And I have a great time doing just that,” says Rohr.
So, what’s bigger than the Oscars?
Rohr says it’s the kids that he mentors in his college speech classes.
“Standing on the red carpet, I got an email from a student that read, 'I just gave an impromptu speech. And because of your class, I knew what to do.' That meant the world to me,” says Rohr.
Rohr has been passionate about helping people get over their fear of public speaking since his days on Concordia’s speech team.
Public speaking is the number one fear in America. Surprisingly, death comes in second.
Rohr believes being able to speak in public opens doors for a multitude of opportunities – including promotions, better jobs, and leadership roles. Public speaking is within everyone’s reach.
“The training I’ve received has put me where I am. No question about it. The forensics program and the leadership positions I held on campus helped get me here,” says Rohr.
All of us have a rendezvous with destiny. You just need to keep moving to get to the meeting. – Steve Rohr Click to Tweet
If he could give one piece of advice to this year’s graduating class of Cobbers that aren’t sure where their future might lead, he says, “Go through the doors that open. The doors that are shut were not meant to be open to you. All of us have a rendezvous with destiny. You just need to keep moving to get to the meeting.”
To learn how you can be a better public speaker, check out Steve Rohr’s new book, “Scared Speechless: 9 Ways to Overcome Your Fears and Captivate Your Audience.”
(Originally published 4.25.16)
Laura Caroon '06 is a content strategist at Concordia College.