Behind the Headlines with…John McCook

My ideal day is… When my son gives me a big smile and hug when I’m walking him to school, my client says “job well done” on the campaign that has consumed me for months, and I can have a relaxing evening with my family.

What made me want to get into PR was... I studied communications with a dear friend at Loyola University in New Orleans. She focused on PR, while I was interested in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation, she tragically passed away, having never entered her chosen profession. As a tribute to her, I decided to take a job in PR for what I thought would be a year to experience it for the both of us. Twenty-seven years later…

My colleagues would say I’m... Driven, Type A++++++ personality, passionate about my career and delivering results, energetic, enthusiastic.

Five words that describe me...

  • Intense
  • Energizer bunny (I count that as one word. I’m in PR. I’m allowed.)
  • Funny
  • Loyal
  • Focused

The PR figure I most admire is... Richard Rubenstein. I have known Richard for more than 20 years. When we first worked together, he rebuilt me as a publicist, teaching me to be relentless in my pursuit of excellence. His passion, dedication to superb client service and technique inspired me and dictated how I have practiced my craft. Richard is as driven today as he was 20 years ago – and he brings out the best in me every day.

I always thought I’d be… A screen or television actor. I haven’t given up on that dream. If Estelle Getty could do it…

I’m at my best when… Professionally, I’m at my best when I’m surrounded by people who are as dedicated to excellence as I am. Personally, I’m at my best when I’m with my son and my extended family. I am half Italian and my extended Italian family shows me what love, acceptance and loyalty are all that counts in this world.

My most prized possession is… I wouldn’t refer to my son as a possession but he is the reason I take every breath. He is an astounding young man and is intelligent, hilarious and most important, kind-hearted. He is literally my hero.

I’m a closet reader of… Murder mysteries by Marry Higgins-Clarke and Agatha Christie. I also love to read “behind the scenes” books on TV shows I watched as a kid. Guiltiest pleasure ever.

You don’t want to be around me when... Someone has wronged someone I love.

The most interesting fact about me is... I don’t know how fascinating it is, but I finished 15th of 200 in the one-meter springboard diving state competition in high school. I went on to coach springboard diving teams in the summer months during my college years.

If it wasn’t for… My mother, I don’t think I would have had the drive to chase my dreams and never give up until I made them come true. She’s a 4’10, 90 pound Sicilian who was born and raised in the Bronx. While she looks petite, she is the toughest, most determined person I know. My mom taught me that no dream is unattainable and if you don’t go for it, you’ll regret it… whatever “it” is. Be true to yourself, be proud of who you are and chase what you want until you get it. That mantra has certainly come heavily into play for my career.

My favorite PR moment was... It was a “universes colliding” moment where my personal and professional lives intersected in a very profound way. Early in my career, I did publicity for the New York Ronald McDonald House. Fast forward 20 years… My son was born premature and needed surgery to save his life. The hospital where he was treated was very far from our home. We ended up residing at the Ronald McDonald House for the better part of a month while he recovered and became 100 percent healthy as a newborn. We were at his side every moment. Little did I know when promoting the Ronald House that decades later, I’d stay in one. When my son was three, I did a tie-in segment with a client and the Ronald McDonald House, where we did an extended live broadcast remote for ABC-TV. I brought my son to meet and spend time with the parents at the Ronald McDonald House that day. I (secretly) bawled like a baby throughout the entire shoot to see my now-healthy, vibrant son offer hope by example to the parents whose children were seriously ill.

My relationship with journalists is... An honest one. I believe if you make a promise, you have to keep it. When I pitch stories, I know I can deliver the goods and I never pitch a story that I can’t envision in detail being run in the print or broadcast outlet at hand. If I offer a story and a spokesperson, I make sure to deliver on what I promise the reporter or producer. As a result, I have a robust portfolio of reporters and producers who take my call because they know I’m authentic and will deliver against what I pitch them.

My next vacation will be in... The year 2086. The nature of our business is not conducive to extended time out of the office. If we manage seven or more client relationships, the odds of all seven being on auto pilot for more than 30 seconds is non-existent. I am grateful for a three-day weekend at the beach or to just be at home with my son. In our profession, you find ways to re-charge your batteries however you can.

What would you like to do more of in PR? I have a particular fondness for working with producers of national morning and news shows on segments that tell compelling stories of the human spirit. Fortunately, with my existing clients, I have opportunities to feed that fondness. I work with two clients in particular that provide services that profoundly impact people’s lives in a very positive way. To tell those stories of triumph over adversity is extremely fulfilling to me.

What one thing do you want to accomplish by the end of 2014? I am very fortunate in that I have a strong track record of retaining client relationships year after year. Professionally, I want to finish the year knowing that I’ve done my best and my clients are going to stay on the journey with me. Personally, I want to continue to be present and engaged each day in my son’s life and for him to know every second of every day how much I love him and that I’ll always be in his corner.

What do you hope will happen today? I hope that the day stays positive for me after having secured a national TV segment for my client and that I will have a fun, peaceful evening with my family.

We have an unusual name. What do you think Gorkana means? I think the name is adapted from a super villain in a 1970’s action adventure cartoon I watched on Saturday mornings as a kid – Gorkana of Amnivar.

My ideal day is… When my son gives me a big smile and hug when I’m walking him to school, my client says “job well done” on the campaign that has consumed me for months, and I can have a relaxing evening with my family.

What made me want to get into PR was... I studied communications with a dear friend at Loyola University in New Orleans. She focused on PR, while I was interested in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation, she tragically passed away, having never entered her chosen profession. As a tribute to her, I decided to take a job in PR for what I thought would be a year to experience it for the both of us. Twenty-seven years later…

My colleagues would say I’m... Driven, Type A++++++ personality, passionate about my career and delivering results, energetic, enthusiastic.

Five words that describe me...

  • Intense

  • Energizer bunny (I count that as one word. I’m in PR. I’m allowed.)

  • Funny

  • Loyal

  • Focused

The PR figure I most admire is... Richard Rubenstein. I have known Richard for more than 20 years. When we first worked together, he rebuilt me as a publicist, teaching me to be relentless in my pursuit of excellence. His passion, dedication to superb client service and technique inspired me and dictated how I have practiced my craft. Richard is as driven today as he was 20 years ago – and he brings out the best in me every day.

I always thought I’d be… A screen or television actor. I haven’t given up on that dream. If Estelle Getty could do it…

I’m at my best when… Professionally, I’m at my best when I’m surrounded by people who are as dedicated to excellence as I am. Personally, I’m at my best when I’m with my son and my extended family. I am half Italian and my extended Italian family shows me what love, acceptance and loyalty are all that counts in this world.

My most prized possession is… I wouldn’t refer to my son as a possession but he is the reason I take every breath. He is an astounding young man and is intelligent, hilarious and most important, kind-hearted. He is literally my hero.

I’m a closet reader of… Murder mysteries by Marry Higgins-Clarke and Agatha Christie. I also love to read “behind the scenes” books on TV shows I watched as a kid. Guiltiest pleasure ever.

You don’t want to be around me when... Someone has wronged someone I love.

The most interesting fact about me is... I don’t know how fascinating it is, but I finished 15th of 200 in the one-meter springboard diving state competition in high school. I went on to coach springboard diving teams in the summer months during my college years.

If it wasn’t for… My mother, I don’t think I would have had the drive to chase my dreams and never give up until I made them come true. She’s a 4’10, 90 pound Sicilian who was born and raised in the Bronx. While she looks petite, she is the toughest, most determined person I know. My mom taught me that no dream is unattainable and if you don’t go for it, you’ll regret it… whatever “it” is. Be true to yourself, be proud of who you are and chase what you want until you get it. That mantra has certainly come heavily into play for my career.

My favorite PR moment was... It was a “universes colliding” moment where my personal and professional lives intersected in a very profound way. Early in my career, I did publicity for the New York Ronald McDonald House. Fast forward 20 years… My son was born premature and needed surgery to save his life. The hospital where he was treated was very far from our home. We ended up residing at the Ronald McDonald House for the better part of a month while he recovered and became 100 percent healthy as a newborn. We were at his side every moment. Little did I know when promoting the Ronald House that decades later, I’d stay in one. When my son was three, I did a tie-in segment with a client and the Ronald McDonald House, where we did an extended live broadcast remote for ABC-TV. I brought my son to meet and spend time with the parents at the Ronald McDonald House that day. I (secretly) bawled like a baby throughout the entire shoot to see my now-healthy, vibrant son offer hope by example to the parents whose children were seriously ill.

My relationship with journalists is... An honest one. I believe if you make a promise, you have to keep it. When I pitch stories, I know I can deliver the goods and I never pitch a story that I can’t envision in detail being run in the print or broadcast outlet at hand. If I offer a story and a spokesperson, I make sure to deliver on what I promise the reporter or producer. As a result, I have a robust portfolio of reporters and producers who take my call because they know I’m authentic and will deliver against what I pitch them.

My next vacation will be in... The year 2086. The nature of our business is not conducive to extended time out of the office. If we manage seven or more client relationships, the odds of all seven being on auto pilot for more than 30 seconds is non-existent. I am grateful for a three-day weekend at the beach or to just be at home with my son. In our profession, you find ways to re-charge your batteries however you can.

What would you like to do more of in PR? I have a particular fondness for working with producers of national morning and news shows on segments that tell compelling stories of the human spirit. Fortunately, with my existing clients, I have opportunities to feed that fondness. I work with two clients in particular that provide services that profoundly impact people’s lives in a very positive way. To tell those stories of triumph over adversity is extremely fulfilling to me.

What one thing do you want to accomplish by the end of 2014? I am very fortunate in that I have a strong track record of retaining client relationships year after year. Professionally, I want to finish the year knowing that I’ve done my best and my clients are going to stay on the journey with me. Personally, I want to continue to be present and engaged each day in my son’s life and for him to know every second of every day how much I love him and that I’ll always be in his corner.

What do you hope will happen today? I hope that the day stays positive for me after having secured a national TV segment for my client and that I will have a fun, peaceful evening with my family.

We have an unusual name. What do you think Gorkana means? I think the name is adapted from a super villain in a 1970’s action adventure cartoon I watched on Saturday mornings as a kid – Gorkana of Amnivar.

- See more at: http://www.gorkana.us/news/corporate-and-financial/behind-the-headlines/behind-the-headlines-with-john-mccook/#sthash.7VRasXfP.dpuf

Published:

Back to listing