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Perspectives Blog: Blog Posts

Minnesota PR Community Loses an Icon, an Advocate and a Friend

Friday, May 18, 2018   (2 Comments)
Posted by: Eva Keiser
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By Eva Keiser, APR

2018 President Minnesota PRSA


The Minnesota public relations community mourns the passing of one of its founding members, Dennis McGrath, APR, Fellow PRSA.


Stories on his recent retirement (Star Tribune), his passing (Pioneer Press) and his obituary (Star Tribune) only touch on his lasting legacy. He was instrumental in the development of the Twin Cities public relations community.


After spending several years in journalism and corporate public relations, Dennis joined Dave Mona to start Mona & McGrath (later Mona, Meyer, McGrath & Gavin) which was eventually bought by Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s largest public relations firms. He served as president of the Minneapolis office, and spent time in the New York and Tokyo offices. Recently, he put his time and talents toward helping the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis navigate allegations. His support of the community and public relations organizations is endless.


For me, his lasting legacy will be the mentoring, support and encouragement he gave so freely to thousands of individuals like myself.


The first time I heard of Dennis McGrath, I was a recent college-grad on the job search aspiring to work at Mona & McGrath. After landing an internship at another prestigious Twin Cities firm, I still was a little awe struck when I found myself sitting at his table at a Minnesota PRSA monthly luncheon program. From the moment he introduced himself, he was charming, engaging and genuinely interested in my perspective. He made an impact and made me want to join Minnesota PRSA.


A few years later, I found myself as the editor of the chapter’s monthly printed newsletter and often Dennis and his wife Betsy would send me notes with ideas, advice and support. Over the years, I knew that if I or Minnesota PRSA needed anything that I could always reach out to them for help.


As Lynn Casey, CEO of Padilla, said in the Pioneer Press, “You either have the mentoring gene or you don’t, and Dennis had it. He gave me — and I know he gave every one of the others that he mentored — the gift of confidence when we needed it to go further.”


While I never really got the chance to work with Dennis, I can say that even my brief encounters with him impacted me profoundly. He shaped my perspective on what it means to be a leader and a mentor.


Join me in celebrating Dennis’ legacy by sharing your memories by commenting on this blog post.


Rose M. McKinney says...
Posted Monday, May 21, 2018
Throughout my career Dennis McGrath encouraged me to stretch into new roles and take on greater responsibility. When I was considering a new job, he asked me, "What's the worst thing that could happen?" And he quickly answered the question for me by saying, "If it doesn't work out, you pick up the pieces and do the next thing." So, I did, and it worked out every step of the way. We also had the opportunity to work together on several PR campaigns including the Minnesota Zoo and Vatican Splendors/Minnesota Historical Society. His counsel and guidance was spot on and helped create awareness and results that mattered for both organizations. Thank you, Dennis McGrath for being a career-long mentor and friend.
David P. Kostik says...
Posted Friday, May 18, 2018
While I have little to say about Dennis McGrath that hasn't already been said, I can say that I am fortunate that Dennis touched my career on a number of occasions. I valued his wise counsel and his friendship, particularly when we worked together through a difficult crisis. I sincerely appreciate the contributions Dennis made to our community, to our profession, and to my professional development.

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