For March, I decided to dedicate my Amazing Person post to my mentor and former boss, Anne Glauber, who passed away on February 28, 2017 after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Anne was not from Jamaica and her birthday was not in March, but she was most definitely amazing.
Anne Glauber was a champion of social causes and her legacy continues in the work she started at Finn Partners, the Business Council for Peace, the American Friends of the Parents Circle of Bereaved Israeli and Palestinian Families, and NO MORE, a unifying symbol and movement against domestic violence and sexual assault. Her latest and greatest achievement was Let’s Win, inspired by Anne’s own experience and struggles with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. Let’s Win is an unprecedented online platform to help patients, doctors and researchers of pancreatic cancer connect and share the latest in clinical trials, cutting-edge data and resources to improve treatment beyond the standard of care.
I don’t want to dwell on this part of Anne’s life here. Instead I want to share some of my favorite stories and memories from working with this woman for more than a decade. She practically raised me in the public relations world. And while Anne was a tough boss, I learned so much from her. She was brilliant and I respected and admired her.
Here are a few mini-stories:
#1 – How I Met Anne: the Powerful Advocate for Women
We first met in 2002 when I started interning with the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW), a nonprofit organization founded by Dena Merriam. Dena was the vice chair of Ruder Finn, the public relations firm, where Anne was the head of the Global Issues group. GPIW had donated office space at Ruder Finn and it was my first time working in a corporate office in New York City.
I remember Dena inviting Anne to GPIW meetings to get her advice on the conference we were organizing with women leaders from around the world. My first impression of Anne was that she was sharp, and she always had an interesting perspective on how we could elevate the role of women and get people to care. She had a mind for media relations and knew how to distill complex social issues into understandable problems and solutions. She also had a great laugh, wore beautiful suits, and was intimidating as hell.
Anne came with us to Geneva for the launch of the Global Peace Initiative of Women and she brought some top businesswomen with her. They eventually formed a group called the Business Council for Peace (now Bpeace). Their first order of business was working with UNIFEM (now UN Women) to support Hutu and Tutsi women in post-genocide Rwanda recover through a joint economic endeavor – basket weaving. Anne along with her business partners created the Rwandan Baskets for Peace project in partnership with Macys. It was an extremely successful program that transformed countless lives.
#2 – My Early Years with Anne: The Boss
Anne and I officially started working together in 2005 when I joined the Global Issues group as an account executive. I came to her with a Masters in International Education and zero media experience. She knew my strengths and weakness and together we carved out a role for me in the group that made sense. One of my first projects was working with the Education Development Center to develop a teen dating violence curriculum for Liz Claiborne Inc.’s Love Is Not Abuse program.
Anne also assigned me to write the public relations award entries for the Global Issues group. We submitted our work for nonprofit and corporate communications programs, such as the Rwandan Baskets for Peace and the Liz Claiborne Love Is Not Abuse campaign. It was no easy task. It took me forever to get the wording right as there were strict word limits and I had to put together folders and folders of supporting materials, research documents and media coverage.
As a young account executive, preparing our award entries was a great learning experience. I got a glimpse of how Anne’s mind worked and how difficult it was to decipher her handwriting. In a short amount of time, I learned about strategy, thought leadership, cause marketing, partnership development, and of course media relations to raise awareness around women’s issues, international economic development, and conflict resolution. We won every award possible from Silver Anvils to Big Apple Awards.
Anne also always gave credit where credit was due. She would write a group email to the senior leadership of the company and recognize the team members who worked on these award-winning accounts and me for putting it together. I remember how much I appreciated the acknowledgement and try to continue that .
#3 – Media Relations Game Changers: Beyond the Buzz Words
In the Global Issues group, we look for interesting, new ways to tell stories about pressing social issues to generate press. It was a running joke that Anne’s favorite word was “unprecedented”. However, it was more than a word. It was the intention to identify a problem and provide a solution that was the first of its kind, new and impactful. She also made a point of telling her team to go deep and identify the “gap” to create lasting change and impact. We followed Anne’s lead and used those words and that attitude to go beyond awareness to action.
I recall being in a new business meeting with a well-respected public health foundation and watching Anne use her hands as she talk passionately about how we cut through the media clutter to generate widespread visibility for complex social issue. She was on fire! Well, we got the account and began working on intimate partner violence prevention from a public health approach! For me, this was when our team began to focus on creating movements and social marketing campaigns to change attitudes and behaviors. It required a lot of out of the box thinking, which Anne loved. We helped clients develop and promote “unprecedented” prevention efforts. It was around that time that Anne and others leaders in the field came together to create NO MORE, a game changer for how people could take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault, and make it socially unacceptable in a very pubic way. It created a unifying way to support and engage in DV prevention. Learn more at nomore.org.
#4 – The Day I Wanted to Quit: Never Give Up
I am sure everyone has had a moment at work when they just wanted to walk out. I remember the day that I told Anne I would quit. She and I were working on a white paper about corporate philanthropy and shared value for a client. It was like writing a thesis with the amount of research that I was doing, late nights at the office, and countless edits.
We were up to about version 18 and I was over it. It was an interesting topic and right up my alley, but Anne and I could not agree on certain sections. Also I was making the edits she asked for, but then she would re-edit it and there was a lot of back and forth.
She was about to make me do a version 19, but I had had enough. I went into her office and said if she wanted to revise it again, she would have to do it herself because I was going to quit. I know it was not the right thing to ever say to your boss, but she could sense my frustration. We ended up behind my computer at ‘Lord knows what time’ editing the piece together. Sometimes she was typing and I was dictating, and other times I was typing, but we were ‘in it to win it’ together.
The final product was brilliant and the client was extremely happy. Much of the white paper ended up in their annual report and set the foundation for their corporate philanthropy approach moving forward. It was a proud moment. It also showed me that Anne was not afraid to get into the trenches with us and she doesn’t let us quit. She always said the majority of PR people are mediocre, but her team was not. We strive for excellence and we never give up. That is the motto that many of us who were trained by Anne (ie. Millicent Fortunoff and Amy Terpeluk) follow to this day.
#5 – Birds of a Feather: Kindred Spirits
Anne didn’t take a lot of vacation, but I will never forget the time she took trip to Paris. Anne always had great style and loved art, and Paris was one of her favorite places for those reasons. She was so happy when she came back and I remember when she walked into the office with this fabulous black coat with red trimming. She had gotten it in a little boutique in the Isle Saint Louis.
Well birds of a feather flock together. Around the same time, Dena returned from a trip to Paris and she came in wearing the same coat. I noticed it first and when they realized they both had a great laugh about it. What are the chances that they would go into the same little boutique and pick out the same exact coat! This is Anne and Dena’s crazy coincidence story that they will always share, because they think so alike and while their styles are very different they saw something unique and beautiful in that coat.
#6 – Dress to Impress: Give Your Best Effort
Anne wrote a book about her mother, Pauly Friedman, called Advice for A Happy Life: Lessons from My Mother. I read the book and so did my mom and it was enlightening for both us in so many different ways. However, I will say it helped me to understand Anne even better and the importance she gave to how you presented yourself. You dress up and you show up. This explained her impeccable style and her expectations of her team to dress accordingly. I used to get the ‘up and down’ look from Anne all the time. I could tell when she approved and when she didn’t and she would not hide it either. I used to call her “Anna Wintour”.
Here is one of those moments I won’t forget. I went to Anne’s office to talk to her and she kept staring at my hands. It went something like this:
Me: Ah yes, I got this nail polish from my friend’s baby shower. She’s having a boy. I thought I would give it a try on my hands and toes. I’m not so sure about. I think it was a mistake on my hands. (Looking down on my blue fingernails.)
Anne: Yes, I think so.
And that was that. However, I learned from Anne that it was important to be mindful of the example you set. In a business setting, this is important. You may know when to dress up and when to dress down, but you are also setting an example for your team and junior colleagues who might not have that understanding. Today, there is a business casual culture and it really does depend on your company, but sometimes younger professionals take it too far. Also you want to dress the part. When I am dressed nicely and professionally, I feel better and it inspires me to step up my game as well. How you are perceived becomes who you are. Anne talks about her mother’s style and presence in her book with the top 9 lessons to live a happy life.
She wrote, “With her signature blond hair stye and distinctive suits, she presented herself as a woman who gave her best effort to get things done. Perception was truth. She expressed that truth to us many times.”
“Give your best effort in all you do.”
-Pauly Friedman, Mother of Anne Friedman Glauber
Anne, you did and we thank you for it. The world is a better place because of you and the example you set. You showed up and you gave it your best effort to the end. Instead of turning inward in your darkest days, you went out into the world to galvanize support so that other patients, doctors and researchers of this horrible disease could WIN. Your courageous spirit will be missed every day. Love, Brianne