With Gratitude to a Generous Communicator

Shared expertise. Sound advice. Unwavering encouragement. Loyal support.

Wouldn’t our business world be a better place if all of us paid these forward?

Tom Scanlan certainly helped to make it so. Tom was a pioneer of “paying it forward” before the term was born. He knew what it was like to work hard and struggle to move ahead. And he drew great satisfaction from helping many others navigate the challenges of career building.

His own career was a testament to his determination. After graduating from agricultural college, Tom’s first job was selling farm implements. When he assumed responsibility for the company’s advertising, his career headed in a new direction. In the 1950s he worked for Dow Chemical as director of advertising and public relations. In the 1960s, he moved to the agency side, managing key accounts for Vickers and Benson. Then onto Foster Advertising in the 1960s, eventually becoming president of Foster’s public relations subsidiary, Continental Public Relations in the 1970s, which he  built into one of Canada’s leading PR firms.

When he retired in the 1980s Tom launched his own consulting practice, working on projects he enjoyed with people he liked. But perhaps his most influential role was serving as a prolific and valued mentor to an incoming generation of communicators.

Tom welcomed every opportunity to share his wisdom and experience and to contribute to the development of tomorrow’s marketing, advertising and public relations leaders. Not one or two or three – literally dozens of professional communicators, like me, are the fortunate  beneficiaries of his generosity.

Tom died on July 5; he left a legacy of appreciative protégés charged with paying his lessons forward.

 With thanks, my friend.

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