David, as the executive director of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame (MAHF) for over 20 years, is the person we can thank for creating and, even more importantly, maintaining the MAHF, so that our industry’s heritage can be understood by all. Through his efforts, he kept the MAHF going with his passion and his love of people.
I came to know David through my board work at the MAHF when I was the CEO at Flashpoint Medica and really liked how he was unflagging in his diligence to keep us all going over such a long period of time. Board members came and went, but David was there to carry the torch and make it the great organization that it is today.
David was an unassuming man of great intelligence, diplomacy, tremendous interpersonal skills, along with a gift for listening and a knack for bringing people together to help make good decisions. I remember one board meeting when we were discussing potential candidates for induction to the Hall.
Occasionally, there were candidates that were put forth that needed further discussion as to their merits. Anyone could be nominated but it was the board’s decision as to whom to induct.
After discussing one candidate, the board seemed interested, and it was David, in his unassuming way who asked, “What is his legacy, what has he done to help shape or change our industry for the good?”
The episode got us all to think that, while someone may be a senior executive and worthy for consideration, to be in the Hall of Fame really meant that you had made a lasting impact on the industry. David got us to be bigger thinkers, and I will always treasure that about him.
David was a very successful businessman, having been the owner of CPS Communications, the publisher of MM&M, for many years. (Haymarket later acquired CPS, and Gideon left the company after 2003.) He ran a great journal and had several other businesses, such as the PMD (Pharmaceutical Marketer’s Directory) with his wife, Bev, that was a big hit.
He really understood this business and all of its facets. After he sold the company, he went on to create the MAHF and brought his tremendous business skills to the organization. Who else would make sure the MAHF continued on but David? When I worked with David, he was in year 15 and still going strong. He made sure the meetings happened, we had agendas, elections of board members, votes, and a vision to get the news out there. If it wasn’t for David, I don’t know if the MAHF would have existed.
David was also very open to new ideas. While I was on the board, he welcomed the shift in direction from recognition of those that came before—the Hall of Famers—to a look toward our future with the introduction of Future Famers that myself and Sharon Callahan, CEO, TBWAWorldHealth created for the MAHF.
It didn’t stop there in terms of educating the “youth” of our industry. I spearheaded the “Young Executive Night’s Out,” an educational seminar; the “View from the Top,” a CEO panel discussion/table facilitation; and the “Mentoring Breakfast” for the Future Famers. David loved the new direction and felt the MAHF was going places.
As I say goodbye to David, it is with a fond heart for someone who loved our industry and just wanted everyone else to, as well. He wanted the world to know how good the people are in our industry, doing the right thing, and being recognized for their achievements and the advancement of our industry.
Charlene Prounis, former CEO of Flashpoint Medica (now DDB Health), is currently a board member of W20 Group.