On February 28, IPN member Joshua Milne and Peter Brown will speak before the Independent Practitioners Network at the Wellesley Free Library about media and PR around the Boston Marathon. Click on this link for more details and to register to attend the event.
Peter’s relationship with the Boston Marathon dates back to 1983 when he first produced the race for WBZ-TV and then did so for more than 20 years. When he left Channel 4 in 2004, the Boston Athletic Association asked Peter to volunteer in two ways: first as the BAA media liaison riding in one of the vehicles that precedes the elite athletes on the course and the other as a Governor of the BAA’s Board of Directors.
Peter says some of his best TV memories are producing those live events. After WBZ, Peter went on to become Vice President of Public Affairs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. His boss at the Brigham became CEO of Partners Healthcare and asked Peter to join him as his Chief of Staff. In this role, Peter worked directly with the CEO and senior leadership to support the mission of Partners and its hospitals and oversee external affairs. In May of 2015, Peter left Partners to open his own communications consulting business, Peter Brown Communications.
The IPN Network recently sat down with Peter to chat with him about this career.
Q: What sort of things do you do at the Marathon?
A: When I left Channel 4 in 2004, Jack Fleming, now COO of the BAA said, “You’ve know this race. We need someone to be on the lead media vehicle.” How do you say no to that? My role on the truck is to make sure the still photogs are in a position to get the pictures they need and to serve as a backup to the systems that are in place to track the runners. Sitting in the truck in front of the elite athletes, I always say I have the best seat in the house on Marathon day. The race is evolving right in front of us.
Q: Why did you make switch from TV to public affairs?
A: It was a great opportunity to join BWH. I always believed the heart of journalism is good storytelling. Brigham brought a depth and breadth of extraordinary human-interest stories involving doctors, nurses, patients and staff members — a treasure trove of compelling stories to share with the media. I kept my foot in the media room by offering them good stories.
Q: How did you make the transition to chief of staff at Partners happen?
A: My boss at the Brigham is an inspiring leader, Dr. Gary Gottlieb. Gary and I worked together for close to 12 years. He left partners in March 2015. Our deal was, when he goes, I go. I stayed on to help with the CEO transition but always wanted to start my own communications business.
Q: When did you go out on own, and how’s it been?
A: I launched my firm on May 3, 2015 – my birthday, a date I would remember. My only challenge is with my “boss,” who makes me work weekends and nights! Actually, it’s been a delight. When I was at Channel 4, I supervised more than 100 people. Now as your own boss, you set your own schedule. You are the architect of your fate.
I’m a communications consultant, not a PR person per se. I work with people and organizations to create and develop their stories and work with them on how best to tell their stories to their audiences, both external and internal. I also do crisis communications, media training and public speaking coaching. Overall, it’s been a lot of fun and another great learning experience in life.
About Fast 5
This is a feature of PRSA Boston’s Hot Topics blog page. The expert subject is someone who is clearly in demand, on the go, and nailing them down for a conversation is about as easy as … winning Powerball at $1.5 billion! But we know leaders like to share, so check back for insights, wisdom, author’s books about to hit the stands and other valuable tips. @prsaboston #prsabos
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