On this day 63 years ago, my father established Edelman with the belief that by providing outstanding work, achieving results with talented teams of professionals and giving back to the community, Edelman could become a major company in the growing field of public relations.
My mother played a contributing role in building the company through her partnership, love and support of Dan. Growing up, I heard many stories of the way she would introduce herself to passengers sitting next to her on their many business trips by asking, “Have you met my husband Dan Edelman?” Or, “Who handles your public relations?”
Today, and every day, I am honored to carry on the legacy of Dan and Ruth Edelman through my role with Global Citizenship and our commitment to veterans issues and the mental health space. My father was a World War II veteran who successfully transferred his military skills and experience to establish a public relations firm that has now become the largest in the world. My mother, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, courageously advocated for mental health funding in the U.S. Senate in the 1990s and today, mental health coverage is incorporated into the Affordable Care Act.
Tonight, in celebration of Founder’s Day, the Daniel J. Edelman Family Foundation is sponsoring a production of Women at War for friends, family and Edelman employees at the Aon Center in Chicago. Based on years of research and first-person interviews, this performance tells the stories of real military women who have served their country and returned home to re-enter civilian life. Touching upon both veterans issues and mental health, this meaningful production will honor the legacies of Dan and Ruth Edelman and celebrate their visions becoming reality.
Growing up, I often heard my father say that public relations is important because “it builds bridges of communications between audiences.” Tonight, we are taking this definition a step further by building an experiential bridge. We hope this experience provides a memorable and personal way of remembering Dan and Ruth Edelman. For those of us who knew them personally, professionally or individually, you know it to be true that once you met Dan or Ruth, you never could forget them.
John Edelman is Managing Director of Global Engagement and Corporate Responsibility.