Looking back, looking forward

April 17, 2020

By Meg Meo

When my retirement was announced earlier this year, little did I know how our world would change by now. COVID-19 has turned everything upside down. My plans haven’t changed, but I do regret leaving our dear ECPR team at a time like this.

Allow me a short reflection. I’m so grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had in my career, including the interesting work and great people I have worked alongside each and every day.

My longest job tenure (25 years!) has been here at ECPR. Before that, I had a different, but related, career in marketing and planning at the Los Angeles Times for 13 years. And before that, I had the pleasure of working in my first “real” job for Austin attorney—and gentleman extraordinaire—Harry Whittington, who after all these years later, never fails to stop and chat when we run into each other. In between the Times and ECPR, I had the opportunity to work for a Texas treasure and force of nature in her own right, Liz Carpenter. Never a dull moment in any of these positions.

Along the way, I married my soulmate and had two children, now young adults, who have really been the center of my life.

Now, in true Facebook fashion, here’s a quiz about a few highlights of my ECPR days.

First client: a syndicated radio show called Mr. Manly

Best time for a crisis: 5 p.m. on Friday afternoons (just ask my husband)

Worst time for a client call: while attending the Longhorn National Championship game in 2006

Craziest legislative session: 2005, with mandatory team meetings every morning at 8 a.m. in the basement of the Westgate Towers building near the Capitol

Weirdest crisis client: hmmm, not to be too specific, but someone photographing a corpse was involved

Most rewarding project: a tie – helping with Lady Bird Johnson’s remembrance events and the 2014 LBJ Library Civil Rights Summit

Favorite client: now you know I can’t tell you this, but there are several

Favorite ECPR tradition: the birthday frog and breakfast tacos

Favorite person to help with a quote: Paul McCartney (he was co-founder of former client Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts)

Biggest change in the way we work (since 1995): email – from 0/day to several hundred

ECPR motto that I’ll take with me: Can do (thanks to Lady Bird Johnson)

A huge amount of gratitude goes to Elizabeth Christian, who got me started in PR and taught me pretty much everything I know about it. She is a wonderful leader and a great friend.

Looking ahead: I’ll still be around Austin and hope to continue to see many of my work colleagues and clients. In the meantime, I am looking forward to spending a bit more time on my volunteer pursuits, taking a few long trips with my husband—when, well, who knows?—and answering a lot fewer emails. So long for now.