A Day at Work Involves Dreams & Diversity for Princess Cruises – Brian O’Connor
As a young boy, Brian O’Connor was so moved by the performance of a marching band that he proclaimed a dream to his mother. Years later, he fulfilled that childhood dream when he became the drum major of the Spartan Marching Band for Michigan State University and led the band in the 1988 Rose Parade and Rose Bowl football game.
Now as an adult, Brian and his team help millions of people fulfill their dreams each year. As Vice President of Brand and Corporate Communications for Princess Cruises, his diverse range of duties affect the guests cruising on 17 ships worldwide as well as employees, charities and communities supported by Princess Cruises.
Some days involve celebrities, such as when Brian rehearsed the tour route onboard Majestic Princess with a 16” stick above his head to ensure 7 foot 6 inch tall Yao Ming (NBA All-Star, Hall of Famer, Houston Rockets) would be able to tour the ship for the Naming Ceremony in Shanghai where he served as the Naming Ambassador, or when Princess Cruises and the ensemble cast of the “Love Boat” were recognized with an honorary plaque on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“The Love Boat holds a warm and nostalgic place in people’s hearts and minds,” said Brian, who grew up watching the hit show that featured Princess Cruises’ ships. That connection to the past is still alive today through the “Love Boat Dream,” a chocolate mousse and brownie indulgence, served onboard all ships. Guests devour 10,000 of them weekly making it Princess Cruise line’s most popular dessert.
Other typical days for Brian might involve planning the arrival of a ship’s first time at a port, developing plans for launching a new ship, or learning more about a department’s new procedure, enhanced service, or product and subsequently communicating it to the proper audience.
“Brian’s energy and passion contribute to his persistent drive to succeed,” said his executive assistant Cynthia Lamster. “He embraces the larger purpose and aligns our team to ensure the best result for Princess as a whole.”
One of Brian’s proudest accomplishments was first being promoted to vice president of sales (North America), followed three years later by being promoted to succeed retiring vice president of public relations Julie Benson.
“Julie had become a PR icon in Southern California and left very big shoes to fill,” Brian confessed.
As he stepped into his new role, he assumed more involvement in the community. Brian serves on the executive committee of the board of directors for the Santa Clarity Valley (SCV) Chamber of Commerce and on the board of directors for Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation. In 2016, he was recognized as one of The Signal’s “51” individuals who made a positive impact in the hospitality/philanthropy category in our community. In mid-October the Los Angeles chapter of the Public Relations Society of America will name him the Public Relations Professional of the Year. He has served as past president, vice president, and five-term board member for the organization.
Brian’s duties include rich involvement with local charities, which is another way Princess Cruises helps individuals fulfill dreams. That work includes serving as event sponsors, donating cruises for live auctions, designating special onboard program profits to charity, and even creating Stanley, a teddy bear in a captain’s uniform that directs a portion of profits to animal welfare and preservation programs.
A not-so-known fact about Brian is that he is a certified protocol officer and a graduate of The Protocol School of Washington. He provides guidance about visiting dignitaries, high-ranking officials, and royalty to executives and ship officers. Those guidelines, based on a generally accepted system of international courtesy, describe how to greet individuals, work with interpreters, and exchange business cards and gifts.
With Princess Cruises since 2006, Brian has spent 200 days at sea and experienced 35 cruises. About one-third of the cruises were for pleasure while the rest were work related. His bucket list includes visiting Japan and Norway on a future Princess ship.
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