About This Site
Mary Henige Bio
The Influence of
Paul Garrett by Mary Henige
Paul Garrett's 1938
"What is Public Relations?" film
(from PRSA-Detroit 50th Anniversary Membership Directory)
Long a company of firsts, GM is known for its many technological contributions to transportation and the modern way of life. Perhaps lesser known is the automaker’s contribution to the field of public relations.
When GM President Alfred P. Sloan Jr. appointed newspaper man, Paul Garrett, director of public relations in 1931, he aimed to establish the trust of a skeptical public. The man he chose to lead this effort implemented a way of thinking that would fundamentally shape corporate PR while elevating it to a management function.
During his 25-year career as head of PR for the world’s largest automaker, Garrett introduced a number of core concepts that would revolutionize how GM interacted with stockholders, employees, communities and the media. His approach would serve as a model for other companies in their interactions with their many audiences both internal and external.
Students of public relations now have the opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s greatest pioneers via the materials available on this site. We invite you to explore the speeches, videos accessible here.