Amith Prabhu: People make our business

08 Dec,2014

By Amith Prabhu


The first week of the final month of the year was significant in more ways than one. I was saddened and humbled about the two events. It is important to devote half my column to both these for the sake of history.


First, I woke up to the sad news of the passing away one of the senior most PR professionals in the country on December 2. Allwyn Fernandes was no ordinary professional. He was a professional par excellence. In a career spanning 44 years, he had worked in two organisations. The first 25 years as a journalist with The Times of India Group and from 1994 until his death for 20 years with Edelman Public Relations India which was formerly Roger Pereira Communications.


The fact that he made the transition from journalism to PR consulting when the profession was taking birth is one aspect. The element of stability is another. In a day and age when people consider changing jobs every 20 months here was a man who had stayed put for 20 years.


I have known Allwyn for over 10 years given a few shared interests we had outside of Public Relations. He was an activist in the Catholic Church and did a fabulous job of pointing out wrongdoings in the church through an email group that reached the leaders of the church. More importantly, he was an amazing husband to Enid and a proud father to Rohan and Rohini.


I was delighted to spend some time with him at the second edition of Praxis in Lavasa about 14 months ago. We interacted regularly on email and then a few months ago he stopped communicating. Little did I realise he was battling cancer and was deteriorating.


In Allwyn’s death not only has Edelman India lost a great asset but the PR fraternity will miss a person that is a rare to find. He never minced words, called a spade a spade and never harmed anyone. May he rest in peace.


The second event that took place on December 4 was historical too. Twenty leaders of PR firms and measurement companies spent three hours over lunch in Gurgaon talking about the future of PR consulting in the country leaving all professional rivalries aside. As the custodian of the PRomise Foundation I was honoured to moderate this session. And make it possible to get some of the finest brains in reputation management inside the room.


Among other things that were discussed was how to make Praxis better in its fourth edition. It was a great way to ideate and have a consultation to better plan the event that is now becoming a fixture on the annual calendar of professionals from both sides – consulting and in-house. The next session of PRime Time will take place in Mumbai focusing on senior in-house professionals.


The takeaway for me was straightforward. That we are a People Business. We are only as good as the people who come in to PR and make a difference. The better we are the more respect we will command. The more united we are the better we will get.


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