I am remembering fondly the time I spent in 1992 interacting and chatting with one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s brightest business minds. Today is the 7th anniversary of his death and thoughts around his impact on our community but more personally his impact on me come to mind. As a young business student I was actively involved in what was then called the MUN Entrepreneur Society now called https://enactusmemorial.ca/. My role was to secure speakers for our monthly events. I had already been several years into my own video business shooting weddings and the media business was very interesting to me. Selfishly I wanted to hear from someone who had built a media empire right here in our home province so I aimed high and decided to see if I could secure his presence at one of our events. To say it was a challenge to track him down and get him on the phone was an understatement. (it was a good lesson for my subsequent advertising sales career working to get decision makers on the phone). I spent a few weeks in the summer of 1992 going back and forth with a lady whose actual role at NTV escapes me now but suffice it to say I finally got word that Geoff would appear in person and talk to our group. We were very excited and he told me at the time I was the very first person to ask him to speak at Memorial “so I came”. We had put off a few meetings to this point and they were well attended but this event was filled to overflowing. There was standing room only to see and hear Geoff in person. When he showed up it was my job to greet him and make sure his vehicle had a parking permit. I had what I would call a very odd interaction with him from the very start during which he genuinely wasn’t sure what car he came in. He was totally focused on the task at hand and that was talking to the students the vehicle he came in was the past and didn’t matter. I placed the parking pass on a large Mercedes that I saw and to this day I can only assume that is the vehicle he came in. LOL
The talk was well received and as an aspiring videographer myself I made sure to capture the event. I posted it on Youtube in three sections because at the time Youtube would only allow 15 mins of video. Here are those three sections:
Geoff also had a videographer in attendance at that event and over the intervening years I periodically see the talk on NTV and it brings back very fond memories. But even more interesting than that he had the videographer go around the room and do quick interviews with select students. It was a very interesting chat speaking to this video guy and just spouting out ideas. I did my piece and left my phone number. To my surprise I received a call from Geoff a couple of weeks later that began several years of back and forth with him that was truly remarkable for a young student. Here is the very first message he left on my answering machine after what he called the “MUN rap”.
My last interaction with Geoff came one night when he called to “rap” as he called it. It was 11:45 pm and I was recently married and working so it was likely around the fall of 1995. I got off the phone started to get dressed and my wife said what are you doing it’s past midnight. I said “Geoff Stirling called and asked if I wanted to sit and have a chat” my wife said are you nuts? I told her that it’s Geoff Stirling and he wants to meet and chat I don’t care if it’s 3am. That chat was amazing for a young person just starting out in business. Geoff graciously gave of his time and told me stories of how he got it all started. He even went as far as to promote my fledgling little video business on NTV. It was a very interesting time and one that I remember with great fondness on this the anniversary of his death. RIP Geoff.