John Charles Woodland Tisdall: Public Relations Icon, Philanthropist, and Co-Founder of Canada NewsWire, 1919-2007

    Public relations pioneer was renowned trailblazer for his contributions
    to setting national standards for PR ethics and practice, creative
    solutions to complex challenges, and helping herald high tech in
    communications while supporting numerous important causes.

    TORONTO, March 27 /CNW/ - Charles Tisdall didn't invent public relations;
seeing the potential power of the profession he simply dragged it out of the
dark ages of early information distribution and into an era where it has
become essential to every endeavour in every sector.
    Charles Tisdall began his career writing for a Hamilton radio station
soon after graduation from Aurora, Ontario's St. Andrew's College. Later, he
joined a Toronto advertising agency. In 1941, he was called to Ottawa where he
worked as Associate Director of Industrial Information for the federal
government's Canadian Information Services, later to become the War
Information Board.
    Returning to Toronto after World War II, he became a film writer and
director for the J. Arthur Rank Organization, England's largest motion picture
studio, where he created information films for Canadian and worldwide markets
that were, in fact, precursors to today's modern film video news releases and
short subjects.
    By 1952, Charles teamed up with Joseph Clark, who had a successful career
at Massey-Ferguson to establish what became one of the country's most
prestigious public relations firms of its era: Tisdall Clark. Their success
was based on the premise that the best public relations counsel often comes
from outside an organization - from experts who bring fresh ideas and solid
public and media feedback to the top decision makers. Over the course of
34 years, Tisdall Clark's clients included Toronto Dominion Centre, American
Express, London Life, and more. In 1985, Tisdall Clark and Partners Ltd.
merged with Toronto-based Continental Public Relations, creating a new
national public relations company.
    Charles was at the forefront of just about everything public relations
practitioners now consider common place. Tisdall Clark, for example, was a
founder of Canada NewsWire and one of its three major shareholders until 1986.
Charles led the movement to establish accreditation programs for both the
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Canadian Public Relations
Society (CPRS). In 1979, he became the first non-American on the U.S. National
Accreditation Board and was later named Chairman of the Canadian Board. He was
the founding chairman of the International Accreditation Council and founder
of the Communications and Public Relations Foundation, an organization of
public relations professionals dedicated to educational initiatives that focus
on the value and power of public relations. In 2005, Charles established the
prestigious Diana and Charles Tisdall Lecture in Communications, a series of
presentations by top leaders in the public relations community, emphasizing
his values of understanding, ethics, accountability, and community goodwill.
The lecture is presented annually at the CPRS national conference.
    Learning, for Charles, was a natural and lifelong commitment - to do, and
to share. Despite long hours and the pressure of client needs, he always found
time to share his knowledge and experience with others. He lectured at Humber
College, Ryerson University, University of Western Ontario, and New York
University. He served on the advisory board for the Mount Saint Vincent
University public relations degree program and was a seminar leader for the
American Management Association and Financial Post conferences. But he also
was ever hungry and open to new ideas and concepts; he always was a keen
student of world events and how those influenced the course of decision
making, and thus, the course of history.
    Given the man and his mission, it was not surprising that in 1984 New
York-based Public Relations News named Charles one of the world's 40
outstanding public relations professionals.
    But public relations was only a part of the Charles Tisdall story. When
it came to generosity of time and money, he was a steadfast supporter and
tireless worker for a range of community, artistic and church organizations,
devoting much to the Anglican Church of Canada, Toronto Theatre Alliance, Arts
Development Fund of Toronto, Canadian Opera Company, Famous People Players,
St. Paul's Anglican Church, St. John Ambulance, Canadian Red Cross, Canadian
Diabetes Association, the University of Toronto Prime Mentors program for
at-risk children, and yet more.
    Until his hospitalization last year, Tisdall closely monitored media and
public relations, often suggesting that while delivery technology has changed
radically, professional dialogue and communication has not. He always said
that it always has been and still is all about relationships, telling the
truth, learning from success and failure and never forgetting that, like
journalists, professional public relations practitioners serve the public
interest as much as their employers.

    John Charles Woodland Tisdall (Charles) was born in Toronto on May 8,
1919 died in Toronto on March 24, 2007 in his 87th year. Until her death in
2000, he was married to Diana Gage Griffith Tisdall, whom he adored and who
meant more to him than all his accomplishments and accolades. He is survived
by daughters Marilee Carmen Tisdall MacFarlane and Martha Gage Tisdall Smith;
by grandchildren Kendra Mary MacFarlane, Tiffany Gage Smith, and Brittany Jane
Smith; by brother Douglas Michael and Marjorie Tisdall.

    Remembrances to St. Paul's Anglican Church, 227 Bloor Street East,
Toronto M4W 1C8; Famous People Players, 33 Lisgar Street, Toronto M6J 3T3;
Communications and Public Relations Foundation, 73 Widdicombe Hill Blvd.,
Suite 1515, Toronto M9R 4B3.

    A service of Thanksgiving for Charles Tisdall will be held on Thursday,
March 29th, 12 noon at St. Paul's Anglican Church, 227 Bloor Street East (near
Jarvis Street).

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Barbara Sheffield, APR, Fellow CPRS, Chair,
Communications and Public Relations Foundation, Tel: (416) 242-6146,

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