When I met Joe, I was a corporate refugee. We had each joined the communications department at around the same time — Joe from outside, me as a transfer — and ended up as two legs of a three-legged public relations stool. At the time, I was brought in as the nerd to handle “new media” relations — bloggers, web relations, and the like. Joe, the press.
But we were both journalists, having traded in the press badges to go corporate at a time when corporate communications was changing radically.
We struggled together. The organization was under constant fire from the media and keeping up with requests and pitches was a constant fight. I watched Joe manage the deluge with aplomb, not only kicking back eloquent and refined responses to media inquiries, but maintaining a constant flow of new angles for key publications, always fighting to keep the organization moving forward in just the right light.
Ultimately, our time was not long in the department. The organization didn’t have a clear vision for the conversation they’d wanted to have with the market while we were there which made for a poor fit. I was given the alumni association for a brief period and Joe moved on, but I’ll never forget my time working with him, our introspective lunches, and his keen observations on the industry.
To Joe, I owe my deepest thanks for changing the way I think about corporate communications, for approaching the media with a producer’s eye, and for refining what I understand as proactive placement. Joe’s one of the best. I’m honored to be in his professional orbit.