Sadly Pam Edstrom passed away in her sleep in March, after a 4 month battle with cancer. Our Pam fought hard every step of the way with the same courage with which she tackled everything. During my visits through this time she was determined, hopeful and always asked about WE. Pam treasures humor, and we were still laughing together so hard it made us cry, until the end.
When Pam first got the news about her health, she looked at me and said “I’m thrilled with the agency we created, it is my finest moment. I do not have a single regret and I would not change a single thing.” This is one of the many special things about Pam, she pursued worthy questions. Here is one of my favorites: Is this a place…or is this My Place. Pam worked relentlessly, passionately, devotedly to create WE…into OUR place. Yes a place for Waggener and Edstrom. Mostly though a place for ALL OF US.
In life, extraordinary doesn’t come by us often. At WE, we have had the privilege, the honor, of extraordinary because Pam has (race) walked our halls. From Pam we have learned many lessons that will always stay with us in perpetuity. Pam will always stand for what is good and right as the consummate truthteller. There were many things that pushed me to ask Pam to be my partner, the first being the unwavering belief we share that relationships matter more than anything else.
So how did this place get started? Most people don’t know that Pam initially said no to me, when I asked her to join The Waggener Group. So I drove up to Seattle and met with her at her house. Pam had just taken the job at Microsoft, she was happily settling in to Seattle and a house on the water. She is kind of little (in stature only), and she was curled up in a ball at the end of her big sofa. If I didn’t have good eyesight I wouldn’t have seen her. Socks off, no shoes. I said again I am building an agency, it will be different, and you believe fervently in the power of communications like I do. What say you, Pam? Nope. Again.
Then our little four-person agency managed to get a meeting with Bill Gates and then-President of Microsoft, Jon Shirley. After 2 days without sleep, we drove up in dense fog for our meeting. We talked about what we were building, yes, but mostly we talked about what we could do for Microsoft. After that meeting, Pam said yes.
Our partnership didn’t start out as a marriage made in heaven. We are both very headstrong, quite different, yet fascinatingly we always were 100% aligned on the end game. We spent time very directly designing our roles, and spent endless hours simply working side by side. It didn’t take us very long to realize we were both better together. As we said to one another thousands of times, we have had the partnership for all time.
Fast forward 35 years. The accomplishments are many, the people and clients are unmatched, but most importantly our initial intention, our spark of an idea to build an independent, differentiated and people-first agency has not only endured, it has grown stronger. I honestly think that is because our names spell.. WE.
To Pam: You gave me the best, the most extraordinary YES. And here we are today with WE. Every one of us thanks you for saying YES. To paraphrase your favorite movie of all time, Babe:
That’ll do, Pam, that’ll do.
A full story celebrating Pam’s life and work by Todd Bishop of GeekWire is available here.