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Episode 117: Cheryl Walker-Robertson on Why Etiquette and Protocol Still Matter

Episode 117: Cheryl Walker-Robertson on Why Etiquette and Protocol Still Matter

In this episode of Beyond the Business Suit, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cheryl Walker-Robertson, Founder of Protocol International and author of the new book, Rules of Engagement: How to Win at Dining with Clients and Other Important People. I've known Cheryl for a few years now during which time she's been a client, colleague and friend. She epitomizes polish and professionalism and we had a great conversation about some of those things that honestly I believe are becoming a lost art: etiquette and protocol.

During the podcast we discussed:

  • Cheryl's career journey and what led her to the work she does in etiquette and protocol
  • Who should read her new book, Rules of Engagement, and what they will get out of it
  • Why etiquette and protocol still matter given the “casualization” of many corporate cultures
  • The biggest mistakes she has seen people make especially in business meals
  • What you can do this Thanksgiving to make sure you do not make any missteps if you're going to someone else's house for dinner
  • Two things you should keep in mind when preparing for your company's holiday party
  • One of the biggest mistakes women make with their image

Cheryl's Bio

Cheryl B. Walker-Robertson is a certified international protocol and etiquette expert. She has helped her clients learn to be more confident, courteous and strategic in business and social situations. Her clients who represent business, government, education, sports and entertainment have been counseled privately and in groups. Considered a thought leader in her field Ms. Walker-Robertson is a contributing writer to various trade and business publications and is frequently the protocol expert for several organizations, blogs, podcasts, Webinars and appears monthly on NBC 40 a television news program.

She is Founder and Chief Knowledge Officer of Protocol International, a professional protocol, etiquette, and business development consulting firm. The company is dedicated to helping executives polish their professionalism, enhance their interpersonal skills, and improve their personal brand. For more than a decade Protocol has provided communication and leadership training programs, keynotes, and executive coaching to Fortune 500 companies, universities and national conferences. Some of her clients include PepsiCo, US Embassy, Odyssey Media, US Department of Commerce, Intercontinental Hotels, Amerihealth Mercy, YMCA, Publicis, and Wharton School of Business. Walker-Robertson custom designs business and office Protocol, workshops in business behavior, networking action plans, entertaining clients over meals, professional image, business development strategies and international protocol and etiquette.

Ms. Walker-Robertson, recognized nationwide for her work with Odyssey Media, was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ms. Walker-Robertson studied under the direction of Dorothea Johnson, Protocol Advisor and Liaison to the Washington Diplomatic Community for the Joint Military Attaché’. She earned a BS in Business Management from St Augustine’s College, an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Harcum College, a Certificate in Management from Penn State Executive Development Program, a Certificate in Negotiation from University of Notre Dame and Certified by Berlitz International as a licensed practitioner in cultural competence awareness and cultural navigator. She has been an executive in the corporate arena for 30 years in Sales and Marketing. She is a member of the International Association of Protocol Consultants, International Association of Image Consultants, National Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Professional Women and the Association of Sales Training and Development.


“I think the mistake we often make [with our image] is trying to be something that we're not, instead of improving or enhancing on the beautiful things that we are.”

“At the end of the day, it does become about, what is the brand, ultimately what is the reputation that we want to have here in our office or in our company or in our organization.”

The Final Five

  1. If I asked 10 people who know Cheryl to describe her using three words, they would say: poised, polished and professional (and approachable).
  2. If she could have brunch with three people (dead or alive), she would select: Michelle Obama, Alexander Hamilton or Benjamin Franklin and Diahann Carol.
  3. Two books that have impacted her personally or professionally: How to Win Friends and Influence People and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  4. The best advice she's ever received: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” and the word of the poem Motto by Langston Hughes:

    “I stay cool, and dig all jive,
    That's the way I stay alive.
    My motto, 
    as I live and learn, 
    Dig and be dug
    In return.”

  5. Her favorite “power outfit”: a little black dress that comes right below her knee, a set of pearls, and black patent leather shoes with 3 1/2 – 4″ heels.

How you can connect with Cheryl:

Website: 4protocol.net

Email: Cheryl@4protocol.net

Facebook: /protocolinc

Twitter: @4protocol


  • Dane / 22 November 2017 12:11

    Kailei, this was a great episode. I thoroughly enjoyed your conversation with Cheryl. I am going to sign up for her newsletter. Your podcasts adds an immense amount of value in many different ways.