Letter From Our CEO:
Breakthrough technologies. Love them.
Strategies that help businesses achieve outcomes. Create them.
Lofty metrics. Achieve them.
All of those things are part and parcel to my career as a professional communicator. I help companies achieve their business goals through effective communications. The outcomes I noted above are part of the journey I’ve been on since I joined McGrath/Power Public Relations and Communications and later took over as CEO. Outcomes are energizing, but they aren’t what drive me. Nor is it the money or the lifestyle trappings that are commonplace in today’s extremely bullish technology sector. For me, it is the very essence of public relations that drives me – the relationship.
When you wash away the memes, the channels, the tools and the hype, I develop and enhance relationships for a living. Relationships are between people: actual living and breathing humans that interact during a journey toward a desired end result. My professional nirvana is reached when I am one of those human beings that collaborate passionately, productively and with mutual respect to drive a brand forward. I could care less about how much money I made from it or how cool it looked to my peers. I simply cherish the aggregation of positive moments that add up to form long-term, successful and satisfying bonds with client contacts.
I know that this Pollyanna sentiment will lead many of you who know me to wonder if I recently went on medication. Fear not, I have not. I must admit, though, I hadn’t thought about what motivates me for many years. A colleague asked me out of the blue the other day and that prompted a flood of memories.
When I began my career, there was no email, no Internet, very few computers in the office and even less software. Computers were typewriters with a screen. Media pitches were done live via phone with a reporter who knew me and took the time to listen. Back in that day, you had no choice but to develop relationships with the people you wanted to connect. I spent thousands of hours getting to know my clients as both professionals and as people. That helped me help their companies. It also established some relationships that formed the foundation of my career. Over the years, few things made me happier than a client saying we had positively impacted their business. Positives spawn positives and that feedback led me to develop even deeper relationships – the long-term types that spanned working with companies from start up through IPO and then beyond. To this day, I remain friends with clients who retired off IPOs, credited my Agency with helping them get there and remain appreciative.
Today, the relationship has become a buzzword as opposed to a living entity. Email has replaced conversations and the work pace leaves little time to foster deeper connections. Often, this leaves us with transactional interactions as opposed to the depth necessary to achieve an actual relationship. I hadn’t realized this until I was reminded in a very nice way at a client holiday party.
We had just finished a successful year of repositioning a client. The success for the company was evident by the quality of the alcohol at the party. As I debated between Champagne or “sipping tequila,” the CEO pulled me away from the noise. “You and your team reshaped my company,” he said. “You put in the time to get to know me, and we rebuilt our brand together. I really want to thank you for that.”
At that moment, I remembered what was important, what made me who I am today and the very thing that keeps me energized for tomorrow. I realized I had forgotten about how much I relate to the relationship. All the rest of what makes Silicon Valley Silicon Valley has served me well, and I am deeply appreciative of what my career, my clients and this industry have enabled me to accomplish. But at the end of the day, an honest thank you from somebody I respect, the knowledge that we do make a difference and the bonds of a true relationship are what truly matters the most.