When family and business collide
Monday, December 18th, 2017
Since this blog is in its early stages with the launch of our new website, I wanted to write a bit about myself, my son and our crazy life as an introduction. It’s all about family and business. I recently welcomed my son, Greg Quinn, as a partner in my marketing business. It’s now a true family business and I’m excited to take this journey with him. There’s never been a dull moment in our mother son relationship and I’m sure that won’t change anytime soon. I started Corcoran Communications in 2000 when he was in junior high. I’m not sure he even knew what type of work I did at the time, because he was too busy driving me crazy. We butted heads about everything during his teen years. He thought it was my job to make his life miserable, so he made it his full time job to make sure my life was just as miserable.
The early years
Greg and I got along best when he was very young. We always had a special bond. I divorced his father (a real asshole) when he was in kindergarten. He quickly became the man of the house and helped to take care of his little sister, Katie. Greg never forgot the day his dad moved out. His dad said “see you later” as he left for a fellow kindergarten classmate’s birthday party at Buzzy’s Bazaar. When we got back from the party, his dad had packed up and left. I don’t think Greg ever really forgot that.
The Philadelphia Eagles helmet
I worked two and sometimes three jobs just to make ends meet when he was young, juggling family and business. I worked full time at a bank, part time as a waitress and usually had other odd jobs, such as babysitting just to earn extra money. That first Christmas without his dad was pretty sad. We were broke and I decided to make and sell holiday gift baskets just to have enough money to buy presents for Greg and Katie. Greg really wanted an official Philadelphia Eagles football helmet, and they were not cheap. I made enough money from the baskets to get him that helmet and he still has it today. It comes out for the really important games.
Greg learned from early on the importance of family and business. He saw firsthand that you need to work very hard to get anywhere in life. We never had much extra money, so we were creative with having fun. We’d pack a lunch and travel to every playground in the area for picnics. We’d make a day of walking to the public library and to Blockbuster to rent movies. We were short on money for his 5th birthday, so I built him a large pirate ship out of cardboard for the Captain Hook-themed party he wanted. The kids loved it. There was always laughter in our home. I can remember Greg, Katie and I dancing around the house to Disney songs, such as I Wanna Be Like You from the Jungle Book. We may not have had much money, but we did have a lot of fun.
The trouble begins!
Greg was a funny, smart, big hearted and very intense kid. He got into lots of mischief when he was younger and he kept me on my toes. Most of it was harmless. He went to parochial school through 6th grade and was always in trouble for something. He was banned from a class trip to the Franklin Institute in 6th grade. Why? Because he told one of his classmate’s mothers that she had sausage toes. Of all the things to get banned from an educational trip for, can you imagine it? Ironic thing is, she did have sausage toes! It was around this time that I got re-married and I left a full-time marketing & PR director position to start my own firm. We moved from Pittston to a nice neighborhood in Bear Creek. I wanted to be able to work from home and be there when the kids got home from school.
Greg and his car
The following year, Greg transferred to public school for junior high. He was still mischievous and even more intense, especially in sports. He was extremely competitive and took sports very seriously, both at home and at school. If his favorite pro football team lost a game, he would run outside and fling that expensive Eagles helmet across the street or rip apart a team jersey.
Greg went though a lot of changes in a short time, so I tried to be patient. He and I certainly didn’t see eye to eye about much during his high school years, I’m just glad I survived them. His sister was a little angel compared to him. It seemed like every day, there was another Greg disaster, and many involved cars. Once, he snuck my car out while he was still too young to drive. He hit a railing backing out of the garage, denting and scraping the paint off the car door. The damage was on the passenger side of the vehicle, so it took me awhile to catch on. We came out of the mall one day and he looked at the car and said “Mom, it looks like someone hit you.” I eventually caught on when I saw that the railing was knocked off the porch and there were paint chips from the car all around.
The year he got his driver’s license, he drove his car through our closed garage door one day while I was grocery shopping. He called me on my cell and told me what he did. Greg then proceeded to hang up on me before I could say a word. By the time I got home, I wanted to kill him. We made him pay for the repairs to the door, but it didn’t stop his careless behavior.
Ruth, the police are on the phone for you
Later that same year, I got a call from the police one night telling me my car had been abandoned on a Wilkes-Barre street. Not only abandoned, but left in the middle of a one way street, going in the wrong direction. The car was still running with the doors wide open. Greg had borrowed my car earlier that night to go out with some of his friends. They were supposedly going to a football game, but instead they decided to drive around and egg houses. Oh, yes he did! I guess he egged the wrong person, because he ditched the car as the angry homeowner was chasing him. He did this and so much more. You never knew what the next day would bring with Greg. He was grounded a lot during those years as you can imagine. And, I felt like I was turning into a raging lunatic. I was more a prison warden than a mother. Why would I eventually decide to mix family and business you are probably wondering.
In the Navy..I can sail the seven seas
When he graduated high school, Greg had no idea what he wanted to do. He attended community college for a bit, but it’s not where he wanted to be. He had no direction and was angry at just about everybody and everything. Greg made the decision to join the Navy and it’s the best thing he ever did. He came out of boot camp a different person. A man with a real purpose. I remember going to see him graduate from boot camp. We went to Navy Pier in Chicago to celebrate. A little boy walked up to him, tugged on his uniform and said “thank you for your service.” My mom was with us and she had tears in her eyes. I was beyond proud of him.
Greg was eventually stationed on a guided-missile cruiser, the USS Chancellorsville, in the Pacific. It was part of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan strike group. He spent five years serving our country and he developed a wonderful appreciation for his life and for everyone around him. We kept in constant contact through letters (yes, letters), emails and an occasional phone call when he was able. He visited Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Dubai. The ship also facilitated humanitarian missions to many countries in need. While he was enlisted, I had the opportunity to travel with Greg and his shipmates for seven days at sea aboard the cruiser, but that story is for a different blog. It’s an experience I will never forget. Greg’s final months in the Navy were spent off the coast of Japan to support disaster relief operations. They provided aid for the areas devastated by the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami in 2011.
A new chapter begins
During his Navy years, when his sister went off to college, I decided to follow my dream of opening a restaurant. For ten years, I operated both my marketing business and Cork Bar & Restaurant, a play on wine and also my name. During that time, I was probably working about 85 hours a week. I thrived on the fast-pace of the restaurant business and loved interacting with all of my customers. I also loved the challenge of the marketing and PR business. A full-time marketer and publicist by day and a restaurateur by night. That ten year period took family and business to a whole new level of chaos. The growth of my marketing business played a role in my decision to sell Cork earlier this year. We were expanding to provide our clients with digital marketing services, social media services, content marketing and more. I also missed seeing my husband, who was busy with his own business, Corcoran Printing. When I sold Cork, we went out on top, ranked number one on Trip Advisor and with a great following. I’m happy to report it is still locally owned and still has most of the staff that was with me.
When he left the Navy, Greg attended Temple University where he earned a bachelors degree in marketing in just three years. He came out with a real drive to build a successful career. Greg worked hard during his time in the Navy and was ready to work even harder back in civilian life. After graduating from Temple, he worked in sales and management for a couple of years. He then got the itch for mixing family and business and made the move to join us working in business development for our credit union marketing division, COR Strategic Group. Today, he gives everything he does 110 percent just like his mom.
Family and Business – Greg and I today
I’ve learned that Greg and I are a lot alike and I think we’re going to make very good business partners. This new journey combining family and business should be interesting to say the least. The intensity he had as a child stuck with him. It drives his passion for doing the best possible job for his clients. I share that passion. We also share a tenacity to succeed and never allow failure to be an option. Greg and I are fighters. We fight hard to ensure our clients succeed and we just don’t give up if we really believe in something.
We’re also both brutally honest. Ask us what you think and you’re going to get the truth. No filter. I think that’s a plus for our clients, they know they can trust us to be totally honest with them. We don’t just say what we think you want to hear. You always get the truth from us. We want to do the best possible job for each and every client. We get personally involved, because we feel our clients deserve it. Our partnership is a work in progress, growing and changing. One thing we can agree on. Besides our family and our rescue pups, our clients are our number one priority. Be sure to follow our social media pages for more blogs and to see how this mother and son duo is doing with family and business. We’ll also be blogging with marketing tips and other important topics to keep give you an edge in business. Visit us at www.corcoranpr.com anytime!
Tags: blogs, content marketing, COR Strategic Group, Corcoran Communications, credit union marketing, digital marketing services, family and business, family business, Greg Quinn, locally owned, marketing, marketing and PR, marketing and Pr business, marketing business, Philadelphia Eagles Helmet, PR business, Ruth Corcoran, social media services