Blog Culture/Agency Life

‘Cuse Chronicles by a CEO – Boston, You Are My Home

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Phil NardonePresident & Chief Executive Officer

It’s a great time to be in Boston. Spring is finally here, it’s Patriots Day, the Red Sox are hosting the Orioles at Fenway and runners from all 50 states and around the world have descended upon Boston to participant in the Boston Marathon. I love this time of year when spring finally creeps its way back into Boston and I’m reminded of why I choose Boston to be PAN’s home.

It is around this time that my students, who are nervously and anxiously counting down the days to graduation, always seem to start asking me the question “Why Boston?” As they are trying to determine their next move, they often look to me for guidance around what city they should call home after Syracuse or what PR agency is best for them. As we are celebrating PAN’s 20th anniversary this year, when my students started asking why I elected to set-up PAN’s headquarters in Boston as opposed to another city, the memories and visions are clearer than a blue sky on a Boston spring day.

Image by Chris Wood used under common wikimedia license.

Last month one of the milestones I highlighted in my celebratory post was that in 2011, PAN made the big move to Boston after 16 years in Andover. There were three main reasons I decided to uproot 40 staff members (at the time) and transport them to Boston:

  1. I wanted to attract top talent
  2. I wanted to retain existing talent
  3. At the time, about 60 percent of our clients were located outside of Boston and the city was a central meeting spot for many

Outside of these three main reasons, there was one overarching reason that really drove the move to Boston. Around the time when we rung in a new Millennium, it was clear to me that PR was not what was it was when I founded PAN in 1995. Not only had it evolved as an industry, but it was also growing in popularity as a ‘field of choice.’ Coincidentally, The Newhouse School is celebrating an anniversary this year as well, a biggy – its 50th, so I find myself not only reminiscing with my staff at PAN but also reminiscing with my colleagues at Newhouse. In fact it was teaching at Syracuse that made me realize just how much the communications industry was growing in popularity.

Slowly but surely, each year the number of students who enrolled in Newhouse’s PR program crept up and today it is one of the most popular majors at Newhouse. Students are migrating from once popular majors like Broadcast Journalism for a seat at the PR table. This for sure is an indication of the changing times, along with the digitalization of business, but back in 2011, I needed to seize this moment and capitalize on it for PAN.

Boston is home to some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in the country and in order to propel PAN forward into the 21st century, we needed to be downtown to attract the talent that was graduating from these schools. I also found the lure of the city was intriguing to my staff and many yarned to be downtown to enjoy a drink by the water after a long week at work. As our client base grew and we really started to establish ourselves in the tech industry, Boston’s growing tech scene made it easy to connect with perspective clients while our existing ones enjoyed the ease of flying into Logan and being at our office 15 minutes later.

Boston made sense for a lot of reasons and every day as I make the short drive from the South End  through the city to work, I’m overcome with a feeling of satisfaction knowing that the move was the best thing for PAN. As we celebrate the city of Boston today while also celebrating 20 years of PAN, I reflect on the changes that have occurred as I tip my hat to all those who are running today.

Remember, check back on the 20th of each month this year for an anniversary-themed post highlighting and celebrating 20 years of PAN.

This blog post is part of larger series, ‘Cuse Chronicles by a CEO, from PAN President & Founder, Philip A. Nardone, Jr., as he chronicles his experience teaching two capstones classes at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.

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