It's Sunday afternoon. I've put on a Patti Labelle CD and I've sat down to write about this celebration of life well lived. Many thoughts dance, circle and fade through my mind, the ones that linger come from the heart. I proceeded to remember, the lessons I learned as a wide-eyed intern on several of Patricia L. Tobin's, (known to many as "Pat") special events in Hollywood. Her struggle as a brilliant PR professional was a difficult one, but over a span of twenty years in business, Tobin built her firm into one of the most respected African American agencies in Los Angeles.
Her expertise was strategic planning, product positioning and community relations outreach with national corporations and organizations. Because of the struggle, she once told me, "A PR professional should never miss an opportunity to jump in the shot, when appropriate. It sends a signal that we exist and are alive."
Tobin's memorial was held on Friday, June 27, 2008 in Inglewood at the Faithful Central Bible Church. On Tuesday, June 10, she had lost her valiant fight with colon cancer. She was 65. The service started on time. 10:00 A.M. sharp! Time was important because Tobin was an on-time person. Colored people time-CP time was not going to reflect a life well lived, or a woman well loved-not this time.
Hundreds came from all over the country to pay their respects to this pioneering publicist and networking master. A long list of dignitaries, celebrities, family and friends felt the power of her definition of networking and public relations. At her memorial service, she brought us together her way. There were very few tears as the program started and concluded two hours later, featuring a lengthy line of impressive speakers and musical selections of Tobin's favorite songs. Speakers such as John Mack, former Urban League President and Los Angeles Police Commission president, Mark Ridley-Thomas, California State Senator, Irving Miller, Group Vice President, Toyota Motor Sales USA and Judge Mablean Ephriam, and so many more-too many to mention-telling their stories of a life well lived. Quite remarkable to say the least.
Pat used to hold a "Journalist Jams" at the Speakeasy Club during the 1980's for media and PR professionals. Her repast, hosted by the Black Journalist Association of Southern California, gave reminiscence to those jams. All I can say is wow! Unbelievable! In a poem written by Michael Colyar, he stated, "Say what you wanna but nobody cries. Feel her joy, feel her power. She knows she's the woman of the hour." Every second and minute of the repast had Tobin's way of life all over it. From the black-eyed peas to the collard greens, macaroni and cheese, to the peach cobbler pie had Tobin's signature on it.
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