By Mary Shank Rockman | August 19, 2019
Penning a blog post spanning 20 years in business is a lot more difficult than I expected! Originally, I’d imagined writing a traditional post that looks back on the evolution of PR during the past two decades, and name our stand out clients and successes along the way. In doing so, I expected the highlights would be relatively easy to remember and easier to capture.
However, there are simply too many experiences to narrate since I opened MSR’s doors in my living room back in 1999, and I wanted to take an unconventional approach to commemorate this milestone. Sure, there have been countless great days, exciting wins, new clients, new categories, launching new brands while turning around others, repeat clients, award-winning placements, campaigns and reports, and agency recognition, each of which have provided significant gratification.
(We recently released an infographic that provides a retrospective of PR from the firm’s beginning in 1999 to current day practices in 2019. Check it out here. Remember the dot com glory days, with its funny money, sock puppets, and ultimately, beleaguering crash?)
For full transparency, there have also been some challenging times. We’ve experienced a few disappointing losses, too, particularly when our hard work has helped create notoriety that eventually leads to the acquisition of a longtime client. And, there have been other times when ‘challenge’ wouldn’t aptly describe what I was experiencing at that minute.
Characterizing all of these experiences wouldn’t even begin to do justice to the countless moments—both positive and a few less so—or the 10,512,000 minutes that make up 20 years of MSR. Yes, you read that right: the better part of ten million, five hundred and twelve thousand minutes spent creating, building, growing, juggling, collaborating, recession-proofing, living, and sustaining MSR Communications for our amazing team, vendors, partners, and clients with whom we’ve created coveted relationships and memories that often blur the lines between professional life and personal life.
As I think about this milestone, I’m filled with pride for the ingenuity and extraordinary results for which my loyal, hardworking team has become known and has consistently secured for so many clients throughout the past two decades. I’m also so grateful for our longstanding, innovative customers who repeatedly partner with and have referred MSR throughout their professional careers.
And, frankly, I’m proud of myself for persevering as a sole female business owner who has faced her own personal challenges in the last two decades—not the least of which were trying to balance a growing family and remaining healthy, especially during busy periods of growth.
Meanwhile, top of mind throughout all of these years no matter the challenge presented has been the desire to continuously stretch myself and strive to create and maintain a company culture where the highest quality results are expected and work-life balance is both priority and reality. Team members’ lives outside of office hours are respected just as much as hard work is valued. I’m delighted that MSR has built a family-style atmosphere where long-term loyalty is rewarded and demonstrated by our average employee tenure of seven years and long-term client relationships. In 2019, MSR celebrated two 12 year, a 15 year and 19 year employee anniversaries as well as client The Myers-Briggs Company’s 12th year of collaboration with our team.
I’m often asked why I continue to push forward year after year. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Entrepreneurialism and persistence are in my DNA (thanks Mom, Dad and Grandma Elinor) as are consistency and true passion for what my team and I do every day. From the beginning of MSR to current day, my philosophy remains akin to the quote that Steve Jobs made notable: “…the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
For 20 years, our passion for doing ‘great work’, creating and amplifying our clients’ stories with global media across platforms and lexicon; continues to fuel us with gratification and the desire to achieve more. We truly love what we do every day. Perhaps that’s why thoughts of so many memories from the past 20 years also fill my mind with one of my favorite songs …‘Seasons of Love’ from the original Broadway show, Rent.
While most would believe there’s little room for a song called ‘Seasons of Love’ in the workplace, in this case, I’ll politely disagree. It’s our 20th anniversary, so indulge me a bit and sing right along.
“Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes, five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear…How do you measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee, in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?… Five hundred twenty-five thousand journeys to plan. In truths that she learned, or times that he cried?… Measure your life in love…”
For the greater part of 10,512,000 minutes, I’ve measured life in a true passion and love for what my team and I accomplish daily. I am profoundly grateful for each moment and every person who has shared MSR’s journey thus far: in daylight, in sunsets, in midnights and cups of coffee; in column inches and across the pond or miles; for those who’ve shared in laughter and strife and crises, and most especially for the truths we’ve all learned that make us continue to strive for more.