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Golin’s “Unlikely CEO” Fred Cook Shares His Story With UF PRSSA

December 3, 2014

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (Dec. 3, 2014) — Students from the University of Florida Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) learned that many possible roads could lead to success, during a discussion with Fred Cook, CEO of global public relations agency Golin.

Throughout the discussion, the “unlikely CEO” conveyed his unconventional path to success through a number of personal anecdotes, tracing the twists and turns of his career prior to entering the field of public relations in his mid-30s.

Whether he was serving on the crew of a Tokyo-bound ship, peddling fake leather goods to Florence tourists or working as a substitute teacher in “L.A.’s worst schools,” Cook captured the lesson in each story and applied it to public relations in a relevant and accessible way.

His narrative resonated with the students. Many of them documented the presentation through social media and lit up UF PRSSA’s hashtag for the year, #withPRSSA, sharing an outpouring of excitement and gratitude.

“We help prepare our members for their transition into the public relations industry, but many still stress about their futures,” UF PRSSA President Chad Furst said. “Fred Cook’s story shows that you can discover your own path to success when the timing is right for you, and I think that’s why so many students really connected with his message.”

Cook’s journey intersected with the public relations field eventually. His tenure with Golin began in Los Angeles, and he worked his way up to his current position as CEO in the Chicago office.

“I used to be in the back right of the photo,” he said, pointing to a staff picture from his time in the L.A. office. “Now, look at me — I’m front and center.”




Ryan Baum