Last week was my first week at Golin without Al. And I wasn’t alone. It was everyone’s first week at Golin without him. After all, there was no “Golin” before Al. There were a few really tough moments. Moments where I wished I could send him a note to tell him some good news or pick up the phone to ask his advice or bounce an idea off of him. I think this will happen a lot going forward.
But there were some really wonderful moments too, where a memory or a story of Al came to mind and made me smile. I will always carry those with me.
Over the past week, we saw many notes and posts and stories of love and admiration for Al. It was incredible. And it continued throughout the weekend with great tributes in the Sunday print editions of the Chicago Tribune and New York Times. Reading them made me so proud and honored to have known and worked with Al for almost half my life.
Al was honest. Whether he was talking to his clients or his people, he always made sure to tell it like it is.
He was hard-working. No one loved coming to work more than Al. He was in the office every day, meeting with staff, talking to clients and reading his beloved newspapers.
He was humble. Al never liked being in the spotlight. He always preferred his clients get the attention. Even though his office is filled with awards, he never boasted about his accomplishments.
He was curious. Al was more up to speed on what’s going on in the world than anyone else in our company. He read books, went to plays, attended concerts, watched movies and devoured news.
He never took himself too seriously. Al told a lot of funny stories. Most of those stories were about him — falling out of a chair at a meeting or introducing a client to a chimpanzee in the elevator.
Al was also a friend. I had the pleasure of working with him for more than 30 years. During that time, we had thousands of conversions, hundreds of lunches and dozens of dinners. And I thoroughly enjoyed every one. Al was much more than a boss and a businessman. He was a great guy. Probably, the greatest guy I’ve ever met.
I will miss Al in his old, green leather chair typing out emails on his computer and talking about what happened in the news the day before. But Al Golin isn’t gone. His name is on our door but it’s his character that defines us. As long as this company exists, he will be part of it and part of us.