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An Open Letter: Feeling Gratitude

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Bob Priest-Heck
Bob Priest-Heck

President and Chief Operating Officer, The Freeman Company Chief Executive Officer, Freeman

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I imagine there are moments in everyone's career when they feel profoundly grateful to be exactly where they are.

Underpinning that sense of gratitude is the humbling knowledge that we owe so much to so many. The last few days have felt that way to me.  

Last week we made a couple of big announcements. As Joe Popolo steps up to his new role as CEO of The Freeman Company —the newly created parent company that encompasses Freeman, Encore Event Technologies and Alford Media — I have been named his successor as CEO of Freeman.

I owe my first word of thanks to Joe, personally, for his continued support and his confidence in our plan to position Freeman for the future. By extension, I am grateful to Carrie, Don and the entire Freeman family for making me feel welcome seven years ago. As someone who knew Freeman as a company outsider, I admired their business acumen, their excellent customer service, and their industry leadership. Today, I am grateful for their absolute, foundational commitment to a value-driven culture and for their consistent willingness to make brave decisions. I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead this “90-year-old start-up” and to help design its future; I promise to honor the trust you’ve shown me.

I am grateful to the larger Freeman “family” — the employees who have enthusiastically embraced change and trusted in the bold strategies we are pursuing. I have heard from so many of you, and my heart is full of your good wishes and words of congratulations. Together we are designing a future that will advance our ability to create brand experiences that connect people in new and more meaningful ways.  Thank you for putting our clients at the center of everything we do.

And what amazing customers we are privileged to serve. To those clients who sent encouraging notes and phone calls these past few days, know that they mean the world to me. As we collaborate on future business, explore the value of new technologies, and design new ways to achieve sustained growth, I am grateful for the opportunity to help you make the world a little better with each event we create.  What worthwhile work!

To the men and women who have mentored me over the years — thank you for seeing something in me when at times I didn’t see it myself. I have enjoyed a terrific career that has been furthered and enriched by your generous instruction. I rely on your lessons more than you can know and have passed them on to the future leaders who carry your legacy forward.

Finally, I must thank my family – my amazing wife and three exceptional daughters – who have graciously indulged my passion for a business that keeps me away from home way too much. Without your love, there would be nothing to celebrate. Thank you for always being there.

I could not be more excited about the unique opportunity Freeman has to help our customers design the future of brand experience. I am grateful to be exactly where I am, and humbled to be surrounded by so many awesome people. 

Thank you.


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