By, Aaron Blank
Pat Fearey and I hit it off right away. I wasn’t really looking for a new job, so I met her on a whim. That was almost eight years ago, and I was at Edelman at the time. The Fearey Group had sent out a blast email touting a job opening.
Meeting Pat for the first time was something of an occasion. Here was a person who had really made a name for herself in the local community. How many people can say they helped create Redmond or Snoqualmie Ridge? How cool is that? She also had a reputation for integrity, of always taking the high road. It was a belief that, over time, good things happen to people who commit to doing good things. It mirrored my own ethics perfectly.
The first thing you notice about Pat is that gentle Southern accent, so different from my own. I am a native New Yorker, a former radio news guy who came out to Seattle to experience the west coast and to be closer to my wife’s family. Pat is obviously not from around here, either. In clubby Seattle, where she was often the only woman in a roomful of men, she became a Seattle luminary. That’s no small feat. She didn’t stay in business for more than 30 years by playing it safe. It was more than values. It was taking risks and putting a huge value on creativity.
“Fearless Thinking” is more than corporate motto for The Fearey Group. It’s really woven into our collective DNA. When I wanted to expand our video capabilities, Pat handed me the company credit card and told me to get whatever I needed. I built out our video suite, and we began projects that included video graphing brain surgeries and live streaming a sleep disorder treatment. Fearless Thinking led to the pioneering of Social Media Journalism – a graph term we eventually trademarked.
Pat appreciated and demonstrated Fearless Thinking in so many ways. Mike Flynn, former publisher of the Puget Sound Business Journal, recently told me that Pat brainstormed the original idea of a special section in their weekly newspaper. A client had a story to tell and no easy way to tell it. Pat got creative. That’s a huge part of her influence that continues in The Fearey Group today and into the future.
For Pat, progress meant buying an IBM Selectric. For me, it’s becoming one of the early pioneers of Google Glass. Technology can allow us to do amazing things, but only we’re not afraid to try it. Again, “Fearless Thinking.”
I feel truly honored to have worked for Pat these last few years. I feel even more humbled to take over the company that bears her name. We’ll continue to grow, evolve, and embrace opportunities, all the while celebrating our clients’ successes and sharing their challenges. We won’t be doing the same things the same ways in five years, let alone 30. But we’ll still rely on Pat for advice and inspiration, and we’ll still call ourselves The Fearey Group. Because the name stands for integrity and creativity. As legacies go, that’s pretty cool.