Dave Parkinson & Tracy Lamourie of Lamourie MEDIA: Lessons from a Thriving Power Couple
Honesty is obviously most important. Allowing your partner to be independent without enmity or paranoia. You should be confident you can trust your partner. If there is no trust, there’s nothing. Period.
As a part of our series about lessons from Thriving Power Couples, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dave Parkinson and Tracy Lamourie. Together the two have hosted radio shows, weekly television. They have been instrumental in numerous social and political initiatives. In their twenties they founded an international organization with a considerable impact- their advocacy led to precedent setting legal decisions, and also helped to free an innocent man from death row. Today they have a stellar global reputation as the Founders and Directors of Lamourie Media, an international award winning publicity, public relations and media firm serving high profile clients in entertainment and across industries.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you two to your respective career paths?
Tracy : We have a long history of working together in all kinds of ways. Back in our mid-twenties we cohosted a radio show on Toronto’s 89.5 FM CIUT together, we founded an activist organization that got international attention fighting the death penalty stateside together, and that led to helping to a twenty year campaign that ultimately helped free an innocent man from death row together, we produced community TV in Toronto together before going on to cohost and produce weekly TV in Southwestern Ontario, we managed a political campaign together…
Dave : For the first decade or so though we were both involved with media messaging I did the TV appearances because Tracy preferred radio and we both worked in print. It wasn’t until 2011 when I convinced her to get out of her comfort zone and take a cohosting position with me on TV Cogeco that she inevitably elevated herself to local celebrity status. Our decades of experience in dealing with everything from the criminal justice system to a myriad of social and political issues taught us firsthand how to adopt effective communication strategies to amply important messages. As a result we founded Lamourie Public Relations as a General Partnership 5 years ago and have evolved into a global operation — incorporating as Lamourie Media in 2020 and today we work across industries elevating the voices and important messages of clients around the world.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you two got married?
Tracy : To be honest, it has been such a crazy roller coaster ride of experiences no one could ever expect when we started this journey that I don’t think we could even begin to narrow it down to a top five most interesting stories…In the days when we were spending most of our time on anti death penalty advocacy I would say the time we did such a great activist media campaign that then Governor George W Bush was asked to answer to us by national media in our pre publicist days and seeing a big name actress at the time quote our website on Politically Incorrect…
Dave : You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.
Tracy : Sometimes we hesitate to tell these stories…. They often sound unbelievable to civilians…
Also its a common thing now to find myself working with celebrities in TV and music that I distinctly remember watching in media as a kid!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Tracy : I don’t know how funny it is but I would say that our biggest mistake was taking so long to monetize our skills at getting messaging into media. We were doing press releases and successfully getting international media attention for causes we cared about for a full decade before it occurred to me that I am a pretty effective publicist, that people pay a premium for that skill and the kinds of successes and media attention I bring to their table — so first I started working as a freelancer , wracking up successful paid media work…and the rest is history.
Dave : When KFI Los Angeles booked me for an interview with notorious shock jocks Jon and Ken and to their anazement I ended up punking them on their own show leaving them speechless.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Tracy : Our founding story certainly is a trajectory that no other publicist or PR firm can claim. We literally learned to write our first press release on Alta Vista, in the days before Google — to let the media know about an innocent man who was then on death row. Jimmy Dennis was released in 2017 after we had worked together pro bono for over 20 years, eventually building the Justice For Jimmy Dennis support team. That’s what started us writing press releases….way back in 1998. It wasn’t until 2015 that we monetized those skills and made a business out of it.
Dave : Authenticity. Ingenuity. We were ‘Disruptors” before the term was coined!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Tracy : At Lamourie Media we are so privileged that so many awesome people doing so many incredible things choose us to help them with their messaging. We are literally always working on a bunch of different exciting projects at a time. We are still working with Jimmy Dennis now a recording artist, Some of the ones we are working on right now include 13 year old emerging singer songwriter Bolu who has been garnering international attention, I’m working with Anita Erskine a prominent broadcaster and actress from Ghana popular across Africa to bring her TV show Sheroes to North America, I’m working with Effortless Pictures UK on a couple of film and tv projects generating a lot of industry excitement. Most of our projects have a component of greater import than the norm…
Dave : We are always looking forward to meeting new disruptors in every industry and niche and we work to help them achieve their goals to bring their important messages to the masses.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Dave : Share your knowledge and experience with them but on an equal footing — not to be hierarchical. Remember everything is a team effort. Always be open to hearing alternate opinions.
How do you define “Leadership”?
Tracy : True leaders build other leaders — encouraging others to learn and develop and take on leadership roles themselves.
Dave : A leader does not impose their values on others to solicit obedience or submission. A true leader takes the lead and the team follows.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Tracy : Each other!!!! I have a lot of other people to thank. My parents Jeannine Cote and Len Lamourie for encouraging the little girl who always wanted to read and write — that taught me how to communicate and to express myself which has led to me having a strong and powerful voice which led me to this career where I am honored to amplify the voices of others and tell the stories of others … Thank you to Jimmy Dennis whose terrible case of injustice and innocence inspired us to learn how to write a press release two decades ago. Thank you to our son Cassidy and our daughter Haily — for putting up with me and, well, just for being. Thanks to my many supportive friends, online and off, who are always there with a pump-me-up encouraging word and all my clients who continue to trust us with their messaging.
Dave : All of the above and also to my dad John Parkinson and my late mother Joyce Jennings Parkinson and my late grandmother Mary Cuthbertson McKerdie Jennings for having the patience to deal with an unruly yet talented, gifted child.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Tracy : I am proud that all the success I have had in my career came from doing good things that I believed in without ever expecting any of this to happen. There is a huge lesson in that.
Dave : By being a voice for the voiceless and doing my part to leave the world a better place than it was when I found it.
What are the “5 Things You Need To Thrive As A Couple”? Please share a story or example for each.
We wrote these together
- Honesty is obviously most important. Allowing your partner to be independent without enmity or paranoia. You should be confident you can trust your partner. If there is no trust, there’s nothing. Period.
- Communication. Don’t keep everything inside. If you aren’t arguing once in awhile you might not be communicating.
- Shared interests. You will enjoy spending time together if you like doing the same things, building your bond.
- Shared values. If your partners ethics, political or social views are diametrically opposed to your own, it’s probably not going to work long term
- Sleeping in the same bed is an important part of staying connected. Intimacy.
You are people of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Tracy : An overhaul of the entire criminal justice system. That means killing the prison industrial complex, ending the death penalty across the United States, examining and accounting for how racism and the decimation of black communities contribute to incarceration rates, accountability in policing, the legalization of cannabis everywhere. We have focused a lot of our not for profit and volunteer advocacy work on these issues since the mid 90s when we met.
Dave : And International gender equality, an end to discrimination of all types.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Tracy : I have two. “Don’t Dream It, Be it” — from the Rocky Horror Picture Show and “I didn’t get this far to only get this far”. I think they speak for themselves. Don’t be intimidated by anything and you will create your own success.
Dave “And in the end; the love you take is equal to the love you make…”
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)
Tracy : I am an old jaded publicist who is rarely excited by celebrity anymore.
I would really like to have lunch with my mom who lives 12 hours away or my dad who lives just a few hours away neither of whom I have been able to see much through this whole covid mess because they have been isolating. And my old friend Laura Pardo. I miss her a ton. These are the people I would most like to do lunch with. Legit. Twelve year old me would like to throw in that I wouldn’t say no to Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr either. Have their people call my people!
Dave : It would have been John Lennon because of all the movements he was involved in or David Bowie would be interesting. Outside of our current roster of clients no one in this day and age really comes to mind.
How can our readers follow your work online?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.