Once upon a time, in the glitzy universe of Disney Channel, a young actor named Devan Leos charmed audiences with his on-screen persona as the hateable yet equally loveable character Alan.
Little did viewers know that behind those TV smiles lay the makings of an entrepreneurial mastermind and public relations mastermind.
When I spoke with Devan over Zoom, his candor was calm and respectful, but his knowledge of PR went a little beyond how I imagine the typical ‘PR’ person’s brain works.
So I asked, “What do you think many PR or communication professionals miss? Devans answer? A word tangled up in various interpretations: PSYOPS
“Many of the fathers of PR were PSYOP specialists,” Devan explains, “a PSYOP is just using psychology in your communications, it’s not inherently unethical.”
Leos argued that lawyers rely on arguments and psychology to win cases on both sides of the legal system and posed that they could even be used to help save the environment.
But what the hell does this ex-Disney actor know about psychology or PSYOPS? For a moment, I suspected some puffery, but then Leos furnished credentials signed by a US military official verifying that (Leos) had completed foundational training in PSYOPS and business strategy.
“Its not about lying, or deceiving people–its about presenting the truth in a compelling way that people understand. We aren’t talking about command and conquer but about consumers and corporations.”
According to Devan’s LinkedIn, he is also trained in open-source intelligence, but when I asked, he said he didn’t want to discuss it.
Leos has become one of the youngest and most notable PR pros to come from Disney Channel, representing clients like billionaire Jay Bloom and his son Sean during the tempestuous OceanGate scandal.
You might recall Devan Leos from his days under Disney’s spotlight—a springboard that launched many a career into the stratosphere.
However, unlike many of his peers who continued chasing casting calls or playing in the snow, Leos set his sights on a different stage: the cutthroat arena of entrepreneurship and publicity. It was here that he found his true calling.
In what some might call an audacious pivot, Leos transitioned from acting to advocating for high-profile individuals like Jay Bloom and Warner Brothers producer Stephen Rezza, NFL Ravens kicking coach Randy Brown and his daughter Ryan, musician Samantha J, and more.
When controversy swirled around OceanGate—a period rife with public scrutiny and media frenzy—Leos stepped in with poise and strategy. His adept handling of this corporate maelstrom navigated the Blooms through choppy waters and solidified his reputation as a publicist nonpareil.
Not content to dominate just one industry, Leos expanded his repertoire by orchestrating successful campaigns for artists such as Stephen Rezza. In doing so, he proved that versatility is indeed his forte, whether managing corporate images or amplifying musical talents.
Leos’ latest headline-grabbing move? Getting brought in as Chief Communications Officer for Undetectable AI, a company at the forefront of artificial intelligence content detection.
But what makes Devan Leos such an indispensable asset in industry work where algorithms dictate fortunes? It’s simple: human touch—a quality no machine can mimic (yet).
His understanding that at the core of every business transaction are people—with desires to be understood and stories to be told—is what sets him apart in an age where data often trumps dialogue.
Leos’ trajectory is more than just puff-piece hooplah-esq ‘I haz success’ type aspirational tales… Instead, Devans story is an example of daring to switch lanes and succeed – when most would cruise down comfy and familiar boulevards.
So next time you spot that DisneyXD rerun or hear whispers about corporate crises calmed by cool heads—or encounter news snippets about AI companies bolstering their ranks—remember this: Behind many movers and shakers is likely a maestro like Devan Leos, helping orchestrate every crescendo and quietus with meticulous mastery.
My thoughts on this dude? He went from being a Disney Channel actor to being a damn fixer…(which I told him I would say in the article.)
Leos laughed, looked up, and said, “I much prefer the term builder, but yeah, some situations require fixing, and that’s part of the tradecraft.”
“Who inspired you the most while working for Disney?”
“Bob Iger, Cecilia Ngyuen, Carla Gambles, Judy Taylor, and hmmm… Andy Schwartz, Jim Berstein, and Stephen Engle were all some of the greatest and most intelligent people I got to work with during my time on Disney Channel.”
“No, there were certainly more; perhaps I’ll think about it and come back with an answer!”
While most public relations people Charlie-Chaplain-dance around words like psychological operations and vomit out regurgitated PR-jargon, Leos takes a more direct approach.
He draws from his unconventional background in psychology and corporate strategy to craft compelling narratives that resonate with target audiences. Where others tiptoe, he charges full-steam ahead without apology.
Yet behind this brazen facade lies a thoughtful communicator who deeply understands the power of empathy. Leos knows that at the heart of any successful campaign are humans.
“These are real people with real stories aching to be told.” Through meticulous audience analysis, he unearths these stories and tries to amplify them with surgical precision.
While some may question the ethics of applying military tactics to public relations, Leos argues the core principles are the same – to persuade, inform, and influence.
The difference lies in the ends, not the means. Where battlefield PSYOPS may seek to deceive and demoralize, Leos uses similar techniques to uncover, deliver truth, and empower.
Is it wrong or right? It all depends on how it’s used and deployed. Whatever Leos is doing, though, seems to be working. After all, even I’m convinced….