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Remembering Al Golin, PR Pioneer

Posted April 10, 2017

Al Golin, founder of one of the world’s largest global PR agencies Golin passed away peacefully Saturday, April 8 at his second home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 87 and had never retired, continuing to provide counsel to his namesake firm, even in his final weeks

“Al will be forever remembered as a man who poured his heart – and his desire to help others – into his life’s work,” his obituary stated.

“He spent more than six decades – through his final weeks – mentoring aspiring PR professionals and providing counsel to executives at some of the world’s most recognizable companies and brands, many of whom would no doubt join Ray Kroc in thanking Al for his contributions to their successes.”

He is survived by June Golin (nee Kerns), his wife of more than 55 years; their three children: Barry Golin (Gemma Brownhill), Karen Golin and Ellen Resnick (David Resnick); six grandchildren: Sam, Alex, Jackson, Kyle, Cydney and Marlena; and one great grandson, Thor.

“I’ve spent half my life working with Al at Golin. He has been my boss, my mentor, and most of all, my friend,” said Chairman Fred Cook, in a statement. “ Al loved this company, and his honest, humble, humorous approach to life and business made a huge impact on all of us. We will strive to nurture the enduring legacy he created.”

For those interested in attending a memorial that will be held in Al’s honor in Chicago, sign up for more information here.

DIVERGE talked to Matt Neale, CEO+Vision at Golin:

How do you think Al Golin will be remembered?

Al will be remembered as one of the founding fathers of modern public relations and as one of the most kind-hearted gentlemen in our industry.

He was a true leader in the world of PR. What do you think he was proudest of in his career?

Helping to turn McDonald’s from a small handful of restaurants in the Chicago area to one of the biggest brands in he world. His partnership with Ray Crock is the stuff of legend.

What was he like to work with?

One of Al’s greatest strengths was his curiosity. Couple that with is ability to listen when others would interject and you have a very wise counsellor. Al was also good fun, he never took himself to seriously and always promoted others before himself. Right up until he passed, Al was razor sharp on politics, film and the arts. I will miss our film reviews with each other.

I watched the allegories- he shared some very personal and candid stories, what can others learn from Al and his life?

He used to quote American architect Daniel Burnham: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood. Make big plans, aim high in hope and work…” That saying has been a North Star for many of us over the past decade or so. Al also believed he didn’t really work a day in his life as he found something he loved. He often said, “if you don’t love it, leave it. In work you have to look forward to the Monday mornings as well as the Friday nights”. I try and pass that on to everyone I meet.

How do you think Golin will continue his legacy?

Every year we put down our pencils and keyboards and spend a day in the community, giving back. We call it Al’s Day and we’ve been doing it for many years now. This year will particularly poignant. Broader than this, realising our ambition to be the defining agency of the decade will be the ultimate tribute to our brave founder.

What is your favorite memory with him?

One of my favourite memories is Al telling of the time when he met Ernest Hemingway in a late night bar in Havana – and then many years later, helping me plan a trip to walk in their footsteps.


To celebrate 60 years, the agency introduced Allegories, inspired by their fearless founder and PR legend, Mr. Al Golin.