Saturday, May 07, 2005

Meeting the CEO of B&O

The last time I met a CEO of a mid-sized, multi-location, national PR firm, the thing that stuck in my mind was that he had shiny fingernails; it looked like his manicure was highly buffed and maybe he even had clear polish on them. This was the CEO of Cohn & Wolfe who came down to the Austin Springbok office to tell us that they had bought our firm, but nothing to worry, things wouldn't change. This was before the term "metro-sexual" was common. Being a southern girl, I really didn't trust a man with polish on his nails. I was right to be suspicious. Less than four months after his afternoon 2-hour fly-by the Austin office was closed.

I thought about that last week when I met Greg Spector, CEO of Blanc & Otus. The one thing that struck me was what a genuine guy he is. Although I'm never made to feel this way in the office, I am "just" a contractor. In August, when Sarah is back, I will be out of there. This doesn't bother me because that's the way the game is, so surprises me when I'm introduced and treated like a long-term team member. I think that's one of the things I like best about B&O.

Greg was in the office for three days and while he was there, he took to the time to say hi to me, and when Doug was in the office one day to get me for dinner, Greg introduced himself. Instead of the rah-rah business speeches you usually get when the CEO comes for a visit, he took us all out for a Cinco de Mayo lunch. Instead of business, we talked running, kids, vacations and he told us how each year he takes each one of his three sons on a one-on-one vacation. And instead of just talking, like most executives do, he actually seemed to be listening to what everyone was saying.

Not only is he a good guy, Greg is very knowledgeable. In March, PR Week named Greg one of the key players in tech PR. And best of all, he doesn't have shiny fingernails.


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