Luc Beauregard is gone before his time. I always had mental images of him striding into some office or boardroom well into his 80s, ready to do battle in defence of an idea or project. He was larger than life in so many ways — his physical height, his ambitions, his determination, even just his presence in a room.
I’ve known Luc for about 30 years, since we worked together on committees of the Canadian Public Relations Society. It was my respect for him, his values and his energy that drove me, despite my nerves — he could be forbidding — to visit him at what was then Beauregard, Hutchison, McCoy et associés and ask him to hire me. It was done with a shrug of his big shoulders and an inquiry as to when I would like to start. Pretty informal — at the time the firm that was to become NATIONAL Public Relations consisted of a single office in Montreal and about three or four dozen employees. But it also spoke volumes, I have seen in retrospect, about how Luc got things done. No wasted time.
Meetings and memos were short and to the point. Praise was never fulsome. I learned to treasure the curt message, “Well done,” that meant he was pleased and proud of our work, and that meant so much more than anyone else’s two-page letter. Of course, it wasn’t always a message of pleasure; we had our disagreements. And when Luc disagreed with you, you knew it. But no matter how hot his anger, it cooled, and never interfered with the respect he had for his colleagues. Underneath it all, we knew we were on the same page.
Our mutual respect, enhanced during my years at NATIONAL, continued after I left, and remains to this day. Most recently, he invited me to join the advisory council of the Luc Beauregard Centre of Excellence in Communications Research, where I have the pleasure and honour of serving with other people who share Luc’s values: strategic, high-level thinking; strong ethical practice; and telling it like it is, whether to clients, colleagues, media or publics.
With his untimely passing, it seems more important than ever to uphold these values. Luc Beauregard has been a critical driving force in advancing our profession and we owe it to his memory to keep it going.