Lynne Doll was one of those rare individuals. Not only was she smart, quick, a proven leader and thoroughly knew her profession, she also possessed that rare quality of being a nice person.
I don't know any other way of describing her.
The business world is full of executives who've stomped on others on their way to the top, or found sport in humiliating others in public. Lynne was not in that category, not even close.
Don't get me wrong. She was no pushover. But, she never saw the need to degrade anyone or "position" herself as better than others to prove a point, excel or emerge the winner in a debate.
Lynne, who died suddenly last night (Aug.3), left us way too early. Hers is a devastating loss for many reasons.
She was among the first PR executives I encountered in my second career. She wasn't quite president and partner of The Rogers Group, but she was getting close. I was used to hard-nosed managers, having come from the newspaper world. I heard stories about similar managers and executives in the corporate and agency public relations world. As a rookie in the PR business, I expected to get criticized for mistakes or not having a complete strategy or idea to share.
So, I was braced for abuse, tough talk and more.
In my first job at an agency, my firm shared an account with Lynne's. My first experience with her was the same as my last - pleasant, easy to work with, encouraging ideas no matter how stupid. She appeared genuinely interested in you and what you had to say.
So, I responded in kind and a professional relationship ensued that has lasted nearly 18 years. As I got involved in other PR activities, including being on the board of the Public Relations Society of America/Los Angeles, I would find the occasion to call on Lynne - usually for a favor. She always answered my call, or returned it that same day. She wasn't upset or somehow concluded that I was taking advantage of her pleasant demeanor. Perhaps I was. But she didn't mind.
Her career as a public relations professional was marked by many successes, and giving back to her profession. So, it's no mystery why the PRSA/LA chapter honored her, when she was still executive vice president at Rogers, in 1999 as PR Professional of the Year.
A recent telling quote about Lynne's professional accomplishments was in this week's Los Angeles Business Journal interview with the guy who hired her. Ron Rogers said the best decision he made in his career was hiring Lynne.
We will miss you. And, I hope all who you touched will remember the lessons you left behind.
A true class act.