Dražen Dretar has held his position as Head of the Public Relations and Protocol Office at the City of Varaždin for twenty-two consecutive years, which either means he is unaffected by times changing, or he has no ambition for advances in his career. Both are inaccurate – the real reason is his dedication to work, and professionalism based on high ethical principles of the profession.
It was already during his high school education at Gimnazija Varaždin that he showed an interest in researching interpersonal communication. His study of Sociology at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, and acquaintance with the techniques of investigating public opinions, was merely momentum used for a decade of engaged journalism in different media. Never having gained immunity towards the journalism virus, in 1995 he started dealing with public relations and protocol in the City of Varaždin. It was then, after a brief educational trip to the USA, that he started using standard PR techniques to make the first steps towards making the local community into a brand – building web-sites, using online PR, and using social networks to achieve complete transparency in the local government’s work. Not being affiliated with any political party (but having a strong opinion about all relevant questions), as a member of the Croatian Public Relations Association he has worked hard to establish the PR profession in Croatia, firmly defending independent, objective journalism and building the cooperation, mutual trust and responsibility between PR and journalism experts.
The golden rule of PR, “Never lie!”, recently trivialized by manipulations with “alternative facts”, was never merely a phrase in his work, but a solid guarantee that the public will receive truthful information in due time. He proudly accepts the international PRO-PR award as a confirmation and compliment to his attitudes and ethics.