The Fearey Group: A Legacy Built on Integrity and Creativity

Aaron Blank / November 15, 2013

Pat Fearey and I hit it off right away. I wasn’t really looking for a new job, so I met her on a whim. That was almost eight years ago, and I was at Edelman at the time. The Fearey Group had sent out a blast email touting a job opening.

Meeting Pat for the first time was something of an occasion. Here was a person who had really made a name for herself in the local community. How many people can say they helped create Redmond or Snoqualmie Ridge? How cool is that? She also had a reputation for integrity, of always taking the high road. It was a belief that, over time, good things happen to people who commit to doing good things. It mirrored my own ethics perfectly.

The first thing you notice about Pat is that gentle Southern accent, so different from my own. I am a native New Yorker, a former radio news guy who came out to Seattle to experience the west coast and to be closer to my wife’s family. Pat is obviously not from around here, either. In clubby Seattle, where she was often the only woman in a roomful of men, she became a Seattle luminary. That’s no small feat.  She didn’t stay in business for more than 30 years by playing it safe. It was more than values. It was taking risks and putting a huge value on creativity.

“Fearless Thinking” is more than corporate motto for The Fearey Group. It’s really woven into our collective DNA. When I wanted to expand our video capabilities, Pat handed me the company credit card and told me to get whatever I needed. I built out our video suite, and we began projects that included video graphing brain surgeries and live streaming a sleep disorder treatment. Fearless Thinking led to the pioneering of Social Media Journalism – a graph term we eventually trademarked.

Pat appreciated and demonstrated Fearless Thinking in so many ways. Mike Flynn, former publisher of the Puget Sound Business Journal, recently told me that Pat brainstormed the original idea of a special section in their weekly newspaper. A client had a story to tell and no easy way to tell it. Pat got creative. That’s a huge part of her influence that continues in The Fearey Group today and into the future.

For Pat, progress meant buying an IBM Selectric. For me, it’s becoming one of the early pioneers of Google Glass. Technology can allow us to do amazing things, but only we’re not afraid to try it. Again, “Fearless Thinking.”

I feel truly honored to have worked for Pat these last few years. I feel even more humbled to take over the company that bears her name. We’ll continue to grow, evolve, and embrace opportunities, all the while celebrating our clients’ successes and sharing their challenges. We won’t be doing the same things the same ways in five years, let alone 30. But we’ll still rely on Pat for advice and inspiration, and we’ll still call ourselves The Fearey Group.  Because the name stands for integrity and creativity. As legacies go, that’s pretty cool.

Comments (2)

    Anne Buchanan avatar

    Anne Buchanan Nov 15, 2013, 5:27 PM

    Congratulations to both of you! Pat is one in a million, and I never thought it could be done, but I do believe she has found a worthy successor to carry on the Fearey legacy. Big love and best wishes to both of you in the next adventure.

    dllandis avatar

    dllandis Nov 16, 2013, 3:52 PM

    Aaron - I've had the pleasure of knowing Pat now for more than a decade through our affiliation with the Public Relations Global Network. She always thinks outside the box, pushes the limits of what we think is possible - and does it with her innate Southern style and charm. And, she loves a great glass of wine to boot. What could be better?

    But here's the thing, Aaron - you do, too. Pat has chosen a formidable successor and we can't wait to see the fearless thinking that will continue over the next few decades.

Aaron Blank GIF

Aaron Blank

CEO & President, Partner

Aaron has been engaged in the conversation since the late 1990s, where he discovered his love of media while working at local radio stations. After five years as a radio reporter, anchor, producer and promoter in New York and Connecticut, he and his wife, Lacey, ventured west to begin his career in PR. Soon he caught the attention of industry legend Pat Fearey and the rest is history. Two decades later, as CEO and owner of Fearey, Aaron leads with tireless enthusiasm and contagious drive. In 2014, he became the next generation owner of the firm. He takes his breakfast at 4:30 AM and never eats lunch alone. You can find him working to connect the next business with tomorrow’s leader.

Personal philosophy: do something amazing every day and be fearless!