Marian Bond - Writer - Speaker - Survivor

Public Speaking
Public Relations
Never Give Up

3 Decades of Covers by Marian Bond

The story of how I came to interview and photograph Richard Stegemeier who was CEO of UNOCAL based in Los Angeles is a good example of taking advantage of every opportunity to network and meet with other people.

I was invited to attend a luncheon in Whittier, CA near the town of La Habra Heights where we were living in Los Angeles County in the fall of 1990. Held at Whittier College, it was an event for business people of the area, and Stegemeier was the guest speaker. I went by myself, and don't now remember if I knew anyone else there at the time. I do remember wondering how my name had gotten onto the invitation list.

At any rate, I enjoyed Mr. Stegemeier's remarks, and when all was over, I took out my business card and crowded around along with others who wanted to speak with him. When my turn came, I introduced myself, handed him my card, and said that I would like to interview him sometime. That was it.

Business Facilities

Of course, if you're going to interview a Mr. Stegemeier, you need a topic. I didn't have one, but kind of filed away the event for the future. Then one day in 1991 I read in the Los Angeles Times that UNOCAL would be moving their headquarters from one downtown location to another within a few years. Ah yes, here was a topic. I went to my trusty Writer's Market and began searching for suitable publication.

Business Facilities was exactly right for this subject. The focus of the magazine was on site selection for corporations. The next step was to contact the editor Eric Peterson. That I did by telephone, asking if he would be interested in an article on UNOCAL. He said yes.

Next step, to contact UNOCAL and try to get something set up with Mr. Stegemeier. This as I recall was a bit more involved than the call to Eric Peterson, as I was going through their public relations people. Finally though I learned that Mr. Stegemeier still had my business card, and yes they would do an interview--with the condition that they could review the copy before it went to the magazine. I agreed to that.

This was all very exciting to me. This was a major piece for a new magazine. Public Relations had cautioned me to be on time, as Mr. Stegemeier's time was very precious. I remember that I was early--as I tend to always be--and sitting in the lobby waiting to be called to the top floor of the 12 story building.

The interview took place in his office, with the public relations person also there. We sat at a small sofa and two chairs with a coffee table in between. I had been given 45 minutes, and as always my questions were ready at hand, and I did the interview in shorthand. When we were finished, I took out my camera and took several shots of him at his desk.

The story was published in September of 1991. Mr. Stegemeier was on the cover, and there was a full-page color photo of him inside along with a lengthy article. It's also interesting to me that following publication, the public relations people called me and wanted to know how many extra copies I could get for him. It seems even a CEO of a $10 billion a year oil company was pleased to be on the cover of Business Facilities. Of course, I was very pleased about that as well.


© 2010 Marian Bond - All Rights Reserved