Every industry has its “giants.” People who have given so much for their profession. One of these giants in the public relations industry is a man named Michael L. Herman APR, Fellow PRSA (Public Relations Society of America).

The letters after his name are fitting of his contributions to the profession.

While PRSA and others have eulogized Michael, far better than I will accomplish today, my story is one of mentorship.

My first time to really see and meet Michael Herman was at a PRSA Counselors Academy event in Cabo San Lucas. He was one of several speakers in a roundtable discussion focusing on the future of the profession. He and I connected afterwards where we continued our own angle of the topic.

Our conversations were usually telephone calls or conversations once a year, the last one in April, 2014. We talked about the profession and people who were making a positive difference. His deep voice and a slight southern drawl were among his verbal trademarks.

Like the rest of my friends, I was really stunned to hear of Michael’s passing in January of this year. At the time, I was dreaming of running; sidelined by recovery from hernia surgery three weeks prior.

I had hoped to run a half marathon as a One Medal run this March. But a bad calf injury changed my focus to a 10K, the King of the Hill 10K to be exact. It seemed appropriate to run a giant of a hill (700’ elevation increase in the first 2 miles) for a giant of a man (starting his PR career in 1970).

The race was not without challenge. My calf was re-aggravated in the first two miles. You don’t just quit any race, let alone one being run for a One Medal honoree. So, I change my cadence, refocused from a personal record to finishing the race and took my time recalling conversations with a friend about a shared passion: public relations.