Yet after four months of happy employment, this meeting
still eludes Richard and me. That’s not to say there haven’t been a few close
calls; I got within a few feet of him at one point. But that handshake, that
look in the eye, that exchange of professional pleasantries between colleagues
remains a goal unfulfilled.
As I said, I’ve gotten close, including:
At the office in Los
Angeles. Richard was in town for a Trust Barometer event, and he met
earlier in the day with employees. I was on a call and arrived a bit late,
sitting in the back of the kitchen by the vending machines. I didn’t mind,
however, as my seat was more comfortable than the desk and glass partition that
passes for my office. Richard was very personable and connected well with the
staff, but before I could ask a question or meet him, I had to run off to
another meeting. By the time I was done Richard was long gone. Was he really
there, I wondered? Or was this just a dream induced by the handful of Red Vines
I had for lunch?
At a Senior Management Meeting. I was brought in to help facilitate a workshop, which was not only
a great assignment from a visibility perspective, but it also afforded the
opportunity to meet and work with the likes of Steve Rubel, Michael Wiley, Rick
Murray and Phil Gomes.
Before we began the workshops, each facilitator stood in
front of the room and introduced themselves. Richard was in the first row
center – here was my chance, I thought. This time he would hear my name and we
would say hello, maybe kick back later at the bar and discuss the future of PR.
But alas, it again wasn’t meant to be for Richard and me. After the
introductions I looked around and Richard was gone – how could he leave a room
so fast? Was he really there in the front row, or was that just a hologram?
Maybe that wasn’t Richard at all, but a decoy – a bodyguard who looks just like
Richard, so the real Richard Edelman can walk among the people and learn their
ways. You know, like Queen Amidala did in The Phantom Menace, only without that
annoying Jar Jar Binks.
In New York. I was at the Javitz Convention Center
for the New York Auto Show. It was a busy day and I had to leave in the
afternoon to catch a flight to Chicago.
My flight time meant I needed to leave for JFK around 3 PM – the same time
Richard was due to stop by the show. It was going to be close, but how long
does a handshake need to take, really? This was my best chance yet and I wasn’t
going to blow it.
I didn’t count on the rain, however. Rain in New York makes two
things disappear: Civility and taxis. I didn’t care about the former, but the
latter meant I need to leave before 3 PM if I hoped to get a ride to JFK and
make it through traffic in time.
So I left without seeing Richard. And to make matters worse,
when I got to the airport I discovered my flight was going to be delayed at
least two hours (jetBlue, what’s happened to you?) Not only could I have stayed at the auto show
and met Richard, we could have hung out. We could have met as colleagues and
left as old friends.
Maybe it’s just not meant to be. After four months I still can’t even get my blog feed put on the Edelman blog landing page, so what makes me think I’m worthy enough to meet the CEO?
Nevertheless, I’m sure we will meet one day, some
way. But until then I will keep hoping and praying that when we do finally meet
it goes well. After all, I love my job – and if keeping it means never meeting
Richard Edelman, then well, I guess I’m okay with that.