Michelle Sullivan Communications

Éminence Grise

(ay-meh-NAHNS GREEZ) A person who wields power behind the scenes : “The king’s brother-in-law is his éminence grise; he has enormous influence, though he is

rarely in the public eye.” A French term meaning “gray eminence.”

So, about the title. I decided to go with Éminence Grise for this blog for a number of reasons :

1. The history-student in me loves it. I studied history at the Masters’ level but veered off into Communications professionally once I realized that my professors didn’t look like the happiest bunch. For those of you who preferred languages to social sciences at school, a little refresher : The original Éminence Grise was François Leclerc du Tremblay (1577–1638), a French Capuchin friar, also known as Père Joseph, who was the confidant and agent of Cardinal Richelieu. While Richelieu was described as the Red Eminence because of his scarlet robes, Père Joseph, who worked in the shadows, became known as the Grey Eminence, in reference to the colour of his cloak. For me, it Eminence Grise vividly evokes the behind-the-scenes nature of PR.

2. The bilingualism of it all. Again, as a child of the Trudeau Era, I’m hardwired to look for bilingual titles and names for things. It was important to me that I come up with a title which reflects the bilingual nature of this blog. Éminence Grise was as close as I could get.

3. The scandal of it all. We work in an industry which can be controversial at times, and Éminence Grise was involved in the biggest scandal our industry has faced in this country. This blog will, from time to time, dare to wade into scandalous waters, without drowning in them.

So Éminence Grise now has its place in history, if you will. The term. Not my blog.

See how that all comes around into full-circle, dear reader?

Nice and neat, hmm?

Onward and upward. Time to put on my thigh-high wading boots.

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