No Place I'd Rather Be

Rather working

There are times when we know we're in the right place at the right time. For the most part those are uniquely personal occasions that can be tied to someone or something we care deeply about. There are also situations when the right time and place has little to do with us. Instead, in those cases, it's often an occasion that shines a bright light on the life and accomplishments of someone else. Those are the times when we can learn from the experiences of a person who has lived their life in an extraordinary way.

I was in the right place at the right time on Thursday. It was the day when a legendary broadcaster, Dan Rather, was honored with a tribute that - borrowing now from the theme of his evening address - "truly mattered."

Rather with us

At noon I had the opportunity to shake his hand and meet him with my stepdaughter Abby, who just as I was forty years ago, is an aspiring communications student at Washington State University. Later that evening, when Rather was presented with the 2012 Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement, I listened intently as he showed genuine sincerity along with moments of rare emotion while sharing his keynote address: The Power of the Murrow Legacy. During his 60-year career Rather followed frequently in the footsteps of the awards namesake, Edward R. Murrow. Whether in the field in London or at the CBS anchor desk, Rather acknowledged that he regularly asked himself, "What would Murrow do?

Earlier in the day, Rather visited classrooms where, as Murrow had done decades ago, students study to become the next generation of journalists and broadcasters in the digital age. Among the advice Rather shared were three noteworthy tips that, he said, would ensure the students would never have to worry about finding or retaining a job: 1) Learn to write, 2) Learn to write, and 3) Learn to write.

Simple and straight forward advice from a legend. I'd say that those students were definitely in the right place at the right time. And so was I.

A few of the quotes and quips from Dan Rather's remarks that I took note of during the evening included:

  • "Confusion should be the mother's milk of curiosity" - Dan Rather
  • "Don't let anyone turn you away because you have a face for radio or a voice for print." - Dan Rather
  • "You can always count on America to do the right thing... after they have tried everything else." - Winston Churchill
  • "He who lives by the crystal ball frequently ends up eating a lot of broken glass." - Unattributed

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The Fine Print

Rod Brooks (that's me) is VP & CMO of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).  It's important to disclose both of those relationships and to be clear that this is my personal blog where I share thoughts and opinions that are solely my own.  Contact me!

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