On April 21, I will host a special panel on mentorship with the Broom Center at San Diego State University. As I have shared in past blog posts, mentoring young professionals is one of my passions. It was to Glen Broom, my mentor and friend, as well.
As a public relations professional, I have met some incredible people over the past 30 years. Some are current and past colleagues and clients; some are from partnerships and alliances; and others I’ve met through networking events and conferences.
In this seminar, I will have the opportunity to introduce four of my friends who have never met each other but have all played important roles in my life. I wanted to take a moment to recognize each of them here.
Linda Rutherford, Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer, Southwest Airlines Co.
Out of this group of people, I have known Linda the longest. Allison+Partners Co-founder, Global Chairman & CEO Scott Allison and I had the pleasure of meeting Linda early in her incredible career with one of our past 3P speakers, Deanne Yamamoto, managing director at Golin, when we developed a fundraising program for our client Angel Flight. Linda and I forged a lifelong bond while creating “On A Wing and A Spare,” a bowling tournament between Southwest employees and the cast and crew of NBC’s then hit comedy “Wings.” We had a great time watching Southwest Founder Herb Kelleher train for the big event and AMF bowling legend Dick Weber teach the cast of “Wings” how to bowl. This employee engagement program raised more than $100,000 back in the 1990s. And, I have cherished my relationship with Linda for nearly 30 years.
Ashley Hart, Senior Vice President & Global Marketing Leader of the Oracle Cloud Platform
When we launched Allison+Partners almost 20 years ago, we had a client called eUniverse. That company acquired numerous websites to build a base of content to attract advertisers that wanted to reach Gen Xers. In addition to MySpace, we had the opportunity to launch the casual gaming site Skilljam Technologies Inc. Ashley was its vice president of marketing at the time and we got to build the first WORLDWIDE WEB GAMES, a casual game tournament in which Skilljam gave away a million dollars to the champion. This was never done in the casual game arena. Ashley’s leadership helped build the brand, which today is part of the Game Show Network’s online format. Our relationship was cemented and has led to numerous partnerships over the years.
Charlene Thomas, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, United Parcel Service Inc.
I met Charlene through a leadership training program, Leadership LA, part of the Southern California Leadership Network (SCLN), where I am a board member. Charlene and I were part of a group with Warner Bros. Vice President of Community Engagement Sally Chan, another past 3P speaker. We spent eight months together learning the inner workings and politics of Los Angeles, as well as developing our leaderships skills. With this said, we have never worked together directly. We established a personal relationship in which we are there for each other during good times and bad. We counsel each other, offer resources to each other and support each other in our continued growth. These are cherished memories.
Javier Angulo, Senior Director of Community Relations, Walmart
Prior to joining the board of SCLN, I presented the benefits of cause-related marketing and business to business partnerships to the group’s members. When I was done presenting, Javier had to step out and I was leaving for another meeting. As we walked out, I told him that one of our past employees had just gone to work for Walmart’s public affairs and digital team. He casually shared with me he had interviewed her and thought she was great. I told him he owed us one. We both laughed. This conversation led to a great friendship, from coffees to brainstorms to partnerships with Arizona State University’s PR Lab.
I am honored to call each of these people my friends and feel honored they will share their experiences and recommendations to students all over the country. I want to take a second here to say thank you to each of them.
And, for those who have made it through this entire post, remember – you establish meaningful relationships every day. As we grow in our positions, it is really important to stay in touch and check in with your friends. They can always be there for you!
The webinar will be held on April 21 at noon PT/ 3 ET. You can register for the webinar here.
Scott Pansky is a co-founder of the agency and leads Allison+Partners’ Social Impact group. Scott has extensive experience providing communications and crisis counsel to nonprofit organizations and developing board + ambassador training programs.