Our hearts are heavy at Parker & Partners and Ogilvy PR with the passing of our dear friend and former colleague, Michael Hartmann, after a battle with brain cancer.
Michael was our Director of Government Relations in Canberra for three years. He was well known and liked on the Hill, where he could often be found in his beloved RM Williams boots sharing a cuppa at Aussie’s with advisers and Ministers alike.
We often joked about wearing out shoe leather in the vast halls of Parliament House…a point he proved on a day of meetings when his FitBit showed he’d covered some 10km that day. His devotion to personal fitness also embraced being a MAMIL (a middle-aged man in Lycra) and even on the coldest mornings he’d be out burning up the streets with his Pollies with Pedals group.
A country boy through and through, Michael had particularly strong links with the Nats and was very proud to have worked on Barnaby Joyce’s campaign in the previous Federal election.
He attended Ag College alongside Andrew Greste, brother of journalist Peter Greste, and this relationship produced the work Michael was rightly proudest of. Michael worked with the Greste family with the support of Ogilvy PR and Al-Jazeera English to ensure government support for Peter never wavered during his long trial and incarceration.
We’ll never forget his jubilation at the news Peter was on his way home, or the smile on his face attending Parliament House with Peter and his family. Just weeks ago, Parker & Partners/Ogilvy PR won yet another award for this work, and Michael was first on the phone to share his excitement.
But this isn’t how we’ll be remembering Michael. If you asked me to describe him, I’d say possibly the nicest man in the world. A devoted family man whose love for Jacqui, Gus and Max knew no bounds. Everything he did or said had them at the very heart. When I went to the U.S. last year, his only request was for Golden State Warriors shirts for the boys.
His positivity and friendly nature touched everyone who worked alongside him at Parkers and Ogilvy PR, and he always took the time to check how his colleagues were doing personally.
As with our entire team, I’ve got my own memories to treasure – discovering a shared passion for 80s pub rock on a work road trip, watching him tackle a chicken schnitzel bigger than his head at a local pub, fist pumping to “We Are Family” at the Ogilvy Christmas Party, and his explaining to my son, with a completely straight face, how to tell a bull from a cow at The Royal Easter Show.
We’re full of admiration for how he handled his illness – with a “no negative talk” mantra. He was effusively grateful for the support given to him, Jacqui and his beloved boys.
Michael, it was a privilege and a pleasure to know you. Be at peace.
Written by Susan Redden Makatoa, Group Managing Director, Corporate, Ogilvy Public Relations.
To donate and help assist curing this illness head to https://www.curebraincancer.org.au/donations