From ice skating with Fred Flintstone, partying with Bart Simpson, touring the globe with the Harlem Globetrotters and managing Ronald McDonald, Beverly Durham ’81 has lived a life with numerous characters.

Tell us about your time at Cathedral High School

High school was an amazing time. It was a very nurturing environment, but as students we also had high expectations.

I was lucky to have many engaged teachers and administrators who were committed to helping me while at Cathedral High School. I was provided the support I needed to learn the way I could best, in some cases independently, allowing me to move at an accelerated pace and given additional opportunities to challenge myself. I believe one of my favorite teachers is still there, Ms. Castagnola (Shapiro). It’s amazing that many Sacred Heart Cathedral students after me are still learning from her!


My favorite experiences were the trips to Paris and London. I went to Paris my sophomore year with Ms. Gutcher, our French teacher and became a Francophile after that. I now love the city of Paris. My junior year we took a trip to London along with Sacred Heart High School. Both of those trips helped expand my idea of a world culture… they really impacted me and helped expand my mind regarding global society.

Where did you go post-graduation?

I went on to attend UC Davis. I choose Davis because it was close enough to home, but far enough to get away. I was also accepted to Stanford and USF, but my parents would have made me live at home and I wanted to be on my own.

I designed my own unique major, studying technology and business with an emphasis in organizational structure. It was pretty cutting-edge at that time; even though it was a sociology degree. The work was far different from the standard major.


Following my studies I wanted to work in the hotel and travel industry, so I worked for Hyatt and smaller chains in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.

As a manager I worked more than I wanted to. I was working 12- to 16-hour days, being responsible if someone didn’t show up for their shift at the front desk and managing employees who were much older than me.

The hours started adding up and I was looking for something new. So I decided to interview for an administration position with the Harlem Globetrotters. By the time I left four years later, I rose to the position of Regional Marketing Director for 100 markets across the globe for the Ice Capades and the Harlem Globetrotters. I traveled to places I never thought I would go to. I stayed in Toronto for two months, six weeks in Mexico City and of course, less exciting places like Billings, Montana,

The job was going to markets and setting up local advertising campaigns, local sponsors, ticket sales, PR campaigns. I would coordinate marketing at the same time to get better deals. I would trade game tickets for hotel reservations. It was a great getting the penthouse suite for Globetrotter tickets.

In 1994, I went from a private company to Porter Novelli, a public PR Company on the stock exchange. I had my marketing and PR background which is needed, though having a broader view of communication helped me in the transition.

I am now the Senior Vice President at Porter Novelli and have worked there the last twenty years. One of my biggest clients is McDonald’s and my core clients are the franchises in Southern California. There are different needs when comparing a global corporation versus a franchisee who may own two McDonald’s restaurants. These small time owners are concerned about cash flows.

There is sometimes a conflict between the individual franchises and the system as we call it. Understanding those needs and providing different programs is incredibly important.

What kinds of campaigns have you contributed to?

I have been an influencer on national campaigns including reaching out to dieticians and school nurses. I ran a campaign for Hispanic consumers and talked about healthy eating- how you take traditional dishes at home and provide a more healthy aspect. We also talk about eating outside the home by using McDonalds as an example. Last December, we won a public relations Hispanic society award for the campaign.

I was also the Executive Producer for the McDonald’s Gospel Fest. We had a competition that was narrowed down to the top 10 gospel choirs in Southern California and culminated with a 6,000 person audience watching the choir performances.

How do you hope to help others?

I am adopted and found a way to make an impact adopting a twin boy and girl who are now 10. At some point I want to work with foster children who are aging out of the system. They are not given the resources after foster care and often do not have families who can help them. I think this is an important issue that I could impact and hopefully, I can begin to give back to young adults who are often overlooked by the system.

Located in the

Heart of the city