PRWeek Hall of Fame: Celebrating Icons



PRWeek's 2017 Hall of Fame: Celebrating industry icons


Best known as Microsoft’s first PR person, Pam Edstrom passed away this past March at the age of 71. Edstrom had known the tech powerhouse’s legendary founder Bill Gates since Microsoft was a penniless startup. Post-Microsoft, the majority of Edstrom’s career was spent at the agency to which she lent her name, working alongside CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin in a relationship that spanned more than three decades.

Pam Edstrom at Tektronix

Melissa Waggener Zorkin CEO, WE Communications

A college counselor once told Pam after taking some tests, "so Pam, it turns out you are rather ordinary." No, not true. To me, to many, and to anyone who had a chance to spend time with her, Pam was extraordinary. In our hearts and minds, her influence will live on forever. Pam’s life work was communications and most of those years were spent with me building our agency.

Pam’s unwavering belief in technology’s ability to change the world unleashed torrents of new types of storytelling. She was generous at every turn, helping those reach their fullest potential. She lived life one speed, full and fast. She was a communicator, mentor, family matriarch, and the greatest partner I ever wished for and the greatest friend I could ever imagine.

Steve Ballmer, former CEO, Microsoft

I remember first meeting Pam, and she was just this incredible ball of energy. When we hired her at Microsoft, she brought us idea after idea, pushing us to do things that we wouldn’t do — to communicate and really get us out there. I loved it.

Pam was part of a group of pioneers in the ’80s who told the story of the personal computer industry, who figured out how to really capture the imagination of not just the technical press, but also of the popular press. She helped us bring technology and personal computers into the lives of everybody.

Frank Shaw, corporate VP, comms, Microsoft

Pam was never much for titles, but a good one for her would have been "bringer of gifts."

She was a genius at brainstorming, and taught anyone who would pay attention how to excel at this. She gave the gift of ideas and the gift of honest feedback — delivered with empathy and understanding.

But most important, she gave the gift of belief. She believed people could do better, and so they did.