Last night I had the honor of presenting Jackie Cooper with the PRWeek Hall of Fame Award at the PRWeek UK Awards ceremony in London. 

If ever there were a person worthy of receiving this distinction, it is Jackie. She has a special place in the history of Edelman. Her impact on our firm — and our industry — is immeasurable.

In 2004, my father Dan and I were looking to acquire a London-based consumer PR firm.  We’d opened Edelman UK 20 years before, and our work in the UK had been predominantly corporate. We hadn’t been able to crack the consumer business, which was the essence of Edelman.  After we met Jackie, there was truly only one choice. My father immediately saw something of himself in her and told me, “She will be the spiritual heir of our Brand practice.”

Her impact on our London office was significant and immediate. We were soon competing for and winning assignments on brands like Shell, Unilever and GSK. But in a broader and more global sense she proved that we could compete more broadly with ad agencies on creative, and that we could diversify our business via Communications Marketing.

Five years ago, when I started talking about Communications Marketing and the need for Edelman to be doing more creative, she said, “That’s great. If you’re serious, we need to make 10 percent of our workforce creatives and planners.” After my head stopped spinning I said, “That sounds impossible to do.” We now have over 600 creatives and planners at Edelman, which makes up 10 percent of our workforce. She was right. We needed the right people with the right mindset who could help evolve our culture and help us achieve our ambition. 

She’s taught us to think visually and to think about the social consequences of what we do, an approach that has manifested in some of her legendary campaigns, including Dirt is Good for OMO and the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. She connects people and ideas. She inspires those around her to dream bigger and to perform better.

I refer to her as my sister from another mister — she has been family for more than a decade. More importantly, she is my friend, who has been there for me no matter the weather.  

Please join me in congratulating Jackie on her well-deserved honor.

Richard Edelman is president and CEO.