By Scott Pansky
“Go Higher, Henri, Go Higher!
You never know the cards dealt to us on all the different decisions we must make in our lives. I remember one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make was moving my young family from San Diego to open an office for Connors Communications in Los Angeles, a dot.com and technology public relations firm. Scott Allison had been recruited to manage Connors’ office in San Francisco and later reached out to me to see if I would be interested in joining as well.
Scott and I were both San Diego State University alum from the School of Journalism and Media Studies. And we’re both originally Bay Area natives, even having attended the same elementary school a year apart from each other. We had worked together for eight years at a company called the Gable Group. Andy Hardie-Brown recruited Scott to join Connors and I was next. After acknowledging my fears of making the move, Scott told me he would surround me with great talent and the rest was history. I moved to Los Angeles. And with the support of Jonathan Heit and others, we started to grow.
Yet, I found something was missing. I couldn’t put a finger on it. I had my wife and oldest daughter (a year at that point), but we were missing family and friends. One of our team members in New York, Jeffrey Bollinger, asked me if I knew his dad, a famous entertainment publicist and founder of the Entertainment Publicist Professional Society (EPPS), Henri Bollinger. I had never heard of him. So, when Jeffrey came home to visit his family, he introduced me to his dad. We hit it off immediately.
Henri, his wife Sandy, Jeffrey and the rest of their family adopted us. They became our surrogate family in Los Angeles. We celebrated holidays together; our children would play with their grandchildren, and we would celebrate family milestones together. In addition to family, Henri became my mentor and coach. He helped me getting an adjunct teaching assignment for 18 years through the UCLA Extension Program and nominated me to be the president of EPPS, which I held for four years. Henri advised me on how to leverage new relationships as a connector and even shared relationship lessons that stay with me to this day: “Treat your wife as if she were a celebrity every day.”
In 2018, Henri died at the age of 89. It’s hard to believe he has been gone for more than five years. He never stopped working and was always there to support me so I would not fall. This page in the “Playing Together in the Sandbox” book was an ode to Henri. To help others, we created the Henri Bollinger Memorial Scholarship at UCLA Extension to help students with funding to help them in their public relations and marketing careers. To learn more about the scholarship or to make a donation, please visit this site.