GolinHarris CEO, Executives and Moody College Alumni Speak to Advertising and Public Relations Students on April 10

AUSTIN, Texas – April 1, 2014 – Fred Cook, chief executive officer of Chicago-based public relations firm GolinHarris, will speak at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 10 in Room 1.202 of the Belo Center for New Media, 300 W. Dean Keeton St.

Speaking to students from The University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communication's Department of Advertising and Public Relations, Cook will offer his perspective on how to build a successful communications career. He also will speak about his new book, "IMPROVISE: Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO."

Cook has worked at GolinHarris for more than 25 years, starting as an account supervisor in the company’s Los Angeles office and eventually becoming chief executive officer in Chicago. He has worked with clients, such as Amazon, Disney and Southwest Airlines. Cook's innovation and leadership have helped his agency earn numerous accolades, including being named 2013 Agency of the Year.

Before joining the corporate ranks at the age of 36, he talked his way into a job as a cabin boy on a Norwegian tanker; peddled fake Italian leather goods to unsuspecting tourists; ran a rock-and- roll record company; started a service chauffeuring drunks home from bars; worked as a doorman at a five-star hotel; substitute-taught in Los Angeles' worst schools; and winged it as a novice tour guide. During his career, he’s been ignored, lost, punched, flunked, fired, divorced and arrested.

In the beginning, Cook lacked all of the customary credentials associated with being a CEO. He barely graduated from college, never took a business course, had no corporate connections, didn’t own a suit and rode a motorcycle. But along the way, he picked up skills – in people-management, problem-solving, and most importantly, improvising – that ultimately led to a surprisingly rewarding career.

Jacqi Moore Richardson

Jacqi Moore Richardson (B.S. Public Relations, '03), a senior manager in the GolinHarris Catalyst community, will speak at 5:30 p.m.

She will speak about her career, which began with an internship at GolinHarris 10 years ago. She also will offer advice for leading a successful communications career.

Laura Slagle

Laura Slagle (B.J. Journalism, '99), executive director at GolinHarris, will speak at 5:45 p.m. She will speak about GolinHarris and how the roles within public relations are changing.

About The University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communication

One of the nation's foremost institutions for the study of advertising and public relations, communication sciences and disorders, communication studies, journalism and radio-TV-film, The University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communication is preparing students to thrive in an era of media convergence. Serving more than 4,700 undergraduate and graduate students, Moody College is nationally recognized for its faculty members, research and student media. For more information about the Moody College of Communication, visit http://moody.utexas.edu.


Contacts: Laura Byerley, (512) 471-2182; Terry Hemeyer, (713) 819-1322, Hugo Rojo, (915) 920-7339.

Laura Byerley
Public Affairs Representative