by Stephanie Masucci
Entrepreneur, president and chief executive officer of The Tierney Group, Brian Tierney, left his busy office in Center City, Philadelphia to address Cabrini listeners. When an outsider takes a look at Tierney and notes that he is the founder of the largest communications firm in the Mid-Atlantic region, he or she may think that Tierney always knew what he wanted to be. This is not true.
“My career has taken a lot of turns,” Tierney said looking at an auditorium filled with communications majors.
Tierney graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in political science. Unfocused, he thought he might want to be a lawyer. He enrolled in Widener University’s law school because of his interest in politics. Knowing that he had a passion for communications, he decided to work in public relations until he received a law degree.
While taking classes at night, Tierney married and became the father of a baby boy. In 1984, one year after starting law school, he started his first public relations business on his credit card. He maxed out his card after buying the necessities: a chair, a desk and a cabinet. After receiving his law degree, Tierney decided that he would continue in the communications field. He never practiced law, however, he thinks that this degree helps him to advise clients with problems that can arise in the corporate world.
In 1989, he and three other people started a company, which eventually became The Tierney Group. He mortgaged his house and put everything on the line to see it to fruition. A willingness to succeed is one of Tierney’s “five fundamentals in communications.” The other four are confidence, inquisitiveness, values and passion.
To become an entrepreneur, Tierney believes that an individual must want to work hard and do everything in their power to achieve that dream. Confidence is something that many individuals lack, but it is advantageous to dig deep within oneself and find what is inside.
“It is important to stay ahead of cultural trends,” Tierney said. This is a tip that Tierney thinks is an essential quality for anyone working in the realm of communications. Reading magazines that might not necessarily be of interest to everyone or watching a program that is not on the Thursday night line-up is one way to be ahead of what people are into.
He admitted that before recently he had not watched an episode of the HBO action drama “The Sopranos.” However, he knew that it was a show that was a “cultural trend” so he wanted to witness first-hand what all of the hype was about. He is now an avid fan.
Having good values and a passion for one’s chosen career will help individuals succeed in their profession. Tierney loves his job and thinks that the best part of his job is the “biography part.” By that, Tierney means he has met famous people, athletes and many other people that have contributed to who he is today.
The Tierney Group’s list of clients fills more than a page on their website. Among this list of over 50 major clients are President George W. Bush’s campaign, SEPTA, McDonald’s, and the Philadelphia Electrical Company (PECO).
The Tierney Group is responsible for the Bell Atlantic commercials with James Earl Jones, as well as the slogan for Philadelphia, “The place that loves you back.”
Tierney’s company is made up of young talent. He noted that the average age is about 32. He also mentioned that 60 percent of advertising professionals are women.
This father of two and devoted husband has changed his work schedule throughout the years. He no longer works on weekends so that he has more time to spend with his family. He has come a long way since he was a high school student at Episcopal Academy, but he is happy with the choices he has made in the past. I’m loving what I’m doing,” he said.