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Collegiality & Cooperation – Former MSL CEO Receives Gold Anvil

“Collegiality & Cooperation”

Speech of Louis Capozzi

Receiving Gold Anvil from the PRSA


October 8, 2017

Thank you, Jane, thank you Karla Voth for putting on another amazing show, and thanks to the PRSA for this amazing honor.

I stood on this stage twenty years ago to present this award to Hal Warner, a former Chair of PRSA and my colleague and friend.  I never imagined in my wildest dreams that one day I would be the one getting the award.

This just goes to show you; my father was right about the secret to success.  He said you have to work hard, and then you have to get a little lucky.

That’s my story, too.  I worked hard, and got a little lucky along the way.  But I also got a lot of help from my friends and colleagues.

When I started in this profession, it was at Hill & Knowlton, at that time the world’s largest firm.  Can anyone guess how many employees the world’s largest firm had in 1968?

It was 64.  Today, my former firm MSL Group, employs over 3,000 people around the world.

When you manage a business that size, you have to decide on your point of view.  What’s your management philosophy?  How will you succeed?

I decided to focus on the people who worked in the firm.  It just seemed logical to me – happy people do great work, that leads to happy clients who ask us to do more, so our firm grows and that makes our owners happy.

My mantra was “collegiality and cooperation.”  I can’t tell you how many times I said to the staff, “at MSL you can count on the support of the person sitting across the office or across the ocean.”

Collegiality is not a buzzword.  You can’t fake it.  You have to embrace the sincere belief that the key to success is to put the interest of the team before yourself.

When my daughter-in-law, Amanda, who’s sitting right here, learned about my Gold Anvil, she sent me a lovely note.  One of the things she said was:

“We know that you dedicate your thoughts and actions to make the world a better place, not only for your family but for everyone.”

It was a great complement.  And one of the reasons I’m standing here today is the work that I did at the PRSA Foundation.  We re-focused the efforts of the Foundation on diversity, and we built programs that attract young people from under-represented groups to our profession and help them be successful.

My own success came with the amazing support of so many people I couldn’t possibly mention them all in my few minutes here.  But I have to acknowledge a few.

First, my mentor, advisor, rock solid supporter, lover and friend, my wife, Betty Capozzi.

Bill Heyman, my career advisor, friend and mentor.

Kirk Stewart, from my team at MSL Group, who made me look good.

John Doorley, who paved the way to my career in academia.

Shelley Spector, my co-author and the founder of the Public Relations Museum at Baruch.

Judith Harrison, who’s doing a great job continuing the work I began, championing diversity at the PRSA Foundation

And to the friends and colleagues who have shared this honor with me in the past – former Gold Anvil winners like Ray Kotcher, and Ron Culp and John Graham and Tom Harris, and Harold Burson and the list goes on…

And thanks to all of you.  This is a great honor.  Thank you.

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Louis Capozzi was Chairman of MSL from 2000 until 2009. 

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MSL is a global public relations and integrated communications partner that provides strategic counsel and creative thinking. We champion our clients’ interests through fearless and insightful campaigns that engage multiple perspectives and holistic thinking to build influence and deliver impact.

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