Moving On to Edelman

My mom tells the story this way: Daniel J. Edelman, founder and chairman of the Edelman public relations agency, once worked for her high school sweetheart’s company, a little operation her boyfriend co-owned called Sara Lee. At least she thinks it was Sara Lee. In other words she’s pretty sure, but then again, being in her ‘70s, she can’t be too sure of anything.

To be honest, memory is not a family strong suit – hell, most of my relatives still think I’m in the newspaper business, which is obviously impossible seeing as I’m now able to afford shelter, food and clothing.

I left newspapers for the PR business in 1994, though I maintained an opinion column and started a freelance writing career that continues today. Anyway, late that year, I made a presentation to my new bosses about an idea I had to start a “digital public relations” division that would focus on communicating via an upstart medium called the World Wide Web.

They thought I was nuts, but I nevertheless convinced them to create a company web site and develop a package of interactive services. How did this happen? It happened in part, I believe, because I used as justification Edelman’s web site, which at the time was one of the only PR sites around. Edelman is online, I said, so we have to be there, too.

Of course the PR industry as a whole never “got” the web (and still doesn’t), and instead abdicated its communications responsibilities to corporate IT departments and advertising agencies. But I never gave up, and in 1999 I left my agency (now Porter Novelli in Orange County, Calif.) and with a colleague started my own company focused exclusively on new media communications, tools and trends.

We expanded the definition and practice of PR to including marketing and brand communications. We spoke at public events and private corporate seminars around the world about “Web 2.0” and social media, determined not to let professional communicators repeat the mistakes of the ‘90s.

And in almost every seminar, in the section on blogs, there was Richard Edelman’s 6 AM site and Steve Rubel’s Micro Persuasion, examples to the PR world that there are those in the industry who “get it” and have always gotten it.

Great Leap Forward
This year and in the many years to follow, Edelman will play a much bigger role in my career – as my employer. I have joined the firm as a vice president in the Interactive Solutions division and will work from the Los Angeles office, home to Hollywood, Canter’s Deli and the OPRB (“Original PR Blogger”) Phil Gomes. I’ll be driving in from my home in Orange County, so I should have lots of quality Podcast listening time while I contemplate suicide on the I-5.

This blog will not change. I will continue to focus on journalism, with a special emphasis on the current state and future of newspapers. I will continue my breakneck posting frequency of two or three columns a month. And since I never wrote about clients or my company before, I don’t plan to start now – so please, don’t expect me to comment if my new employer does something in the blogosphere you don’t like.

Thank You, ZNetlady
One more thing: Companies, at their core, are people. For seven years, I have had the honor and privilege of working with Linda Zimmer, who is the smartest, most forward-thinking and innovative communications practitioner I have ever known (read her popular Second Life blog for an example of what I mean.)

She is even more than those things to me – she is also my inspiration. She is why I am able to take this next career leap. Because of Linda, I am not only a better professional, but a better person as well.

Thank you, Linda. And thank you to everyone – clients, colleagues and friends – for your support and encouragement.

Edelman, here I come.

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14 Responses to Moving On to Edelman

  1. Hold on to your soul.
    Stay away from the Kool-Aid.
    Buy a shredder.
    Don’t touch anything.
    Best wishes,
    – Amanda

  2. Gary,
    Congrats! As you know, the best value any outsider can bring to a firm is perspective and objectivity. Edleman will be better off with you involved.
    Mike

  3. Looking Forward To 2007

    I went into this post thinking I was going to write the de rigueur resolutions, predictions, benedictions, and so on. I’ll save that for later. Suffice to say, I’m very much looking forward to 2007, personally and professionally.

  4. Kevin Dugan says:

    Gary: Great news. Good luck on the I-5. I suggest satellite radio.

  5. Mike and Kevin, thanks for the kind words and support! And Kevin, I just got the Road Trip transmitter so I can play my Ipod through the car stereo, but Sat radio might be a good option too. Then I can switch between Stern and the Hobson & Holtz Report 🙂

  6. Mike and Kevin, thanks for the kind words and support! And Kevin, I just got the Road Trip transmitter so I can play my Ipod through the car stereo, but Sat radio might be a good option too. Then I can switch between Stern and the Hobson & Holtz Report 🙂

  7. Mike and Kevin, thanks for the kind words and support! And Kevin, I just got the Road Trip transmitter so I can play my Ipod through the car stereo, but Sat radio might be a good option too. Then I can switch between Stern and the Hobson & Holtz Report 🙂

  8. Steve Rubel says:

    Welcome to the team. It’s great to have you here!

  9. Welcome to Edelman, Gary!! We’re really glad you’re here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have over the past year.

  10. Edelman gets another

    Yesterday, well-respected blogger and former journalist (okay, that was awhile ago) Gary Goldhammer announced he has joined Edelman Inc. as a vice president in its the Interactive Solutions division.
    If youve read Garys blog at all, you k…

  11. Kami Nobody says:

    Congrats Gary, you know that I am a big fan and you will be a great asset to Edelman. I will, of course, still be a reader, as always. 🙂 And ditto on Linda, i am enjoying getting to know her.

  12. Josh Morgan says:

    Congratulations! Great company, lots of great people and of course home of OPRB.

  13. Edelman snaps up another communicator

    Ive not met Gary Goldhammer but Ive been a long-time subscriber to his blogs RSS feed. Probably one reason is he is the only blogger I read who describes himself as a recovering journalist.
    News yesterday that Gary has been snapped…

  14. LT says:

    OMG … woke up early this morning and was checkin’ feeds and such … stumbled upon you because of your post re: MGM Mirage.
    Thought Below the Fold sounded familiar. Did a double take and noticed the glamour shot photo. After a couple more takes of the photo, I realized it was you.
    ASIDE: Nice. Like the lighting … it makes it hard to see where the hair begins and ends! /ASIDE
    I am not learning anything new. How ’bout this time I come work for you? 🙂
    Stay out of trouble up there in LA and for God’s sake don’t let Laura Chick catch you doin’ anything you shouldn’t
    P.S. Nancy just turned 50 this month and I think Billy Bush said Marcia Brady did too! What do we do with the next 50 years …
    SHALOM!

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