A good friend and mentor died August 3. His passing reminds me again of how we’re formed by the people we admire.
I first met Peter Morrissey when our firm joined an international network of independent public relations agencies, Pinnacle Worldwide. Peter owned a firm in Boston that specialized in corporate reputation management and crisis communications.
It was easy to see why corporate executives trusted Peter. He was honest, whip smart and direct. He also was a teacher. He shared stories to illustrate lessons. And like a good Irishman, he had great stories to tell.
Among Peter’s corporate clients was Johnson & Johnson. He counseled the company and its McNeil Pharmaceuticals subsidiary when poison introduced into its Tylenol capsules killed seven Chicago-area residents in 1982. It’s now a classic case study in PR classes on crisis communications.
In addition to running his successful firm, Peter was the consummate good citizen. He taught at Boston University, was active in numerous community groups and served on the board of Boston Athletic Association, sponsors of the Boston Marathon.
I remember him most for what I learned listening to him. I suppose that’s why I enjoyed reading Rate Your Professor comments from students he taught at Boston University.
“Morrissey’s real-world experience as CEO of a highly successful PR firm makes his class probably the most useful I’ve taken at BU.“
“Professor Morrissey’s class was a great class. He brings his real-world experience of owning his own PR firm and working with big name clients to the class. Morrissey’s work in crisis communication especially is a case study for every intro to PR class everywhere.”
“I LOVE PROFESSOR MORRISSEY! If you want to go into PR, take as many of Morrissey’s classes as you can. Work hard, talk to him outside of class, and he will help you in your job search way more than Career Services ever could.”
Peter was the same way with his professional colleagues. He would help you any way he could. Mostly he helped me remember that, at its core, our profession is about serving our communities with integrity, honest communications and a commitment to do what’s right.
Peter taught that by how he lived.