Featured Alumnus- Jim Brady ’87

With over twenty years’ experience as a communications professional for well-known businesses such as Microsoft and Cisco, alumnus, Jim Brady, Class of 1987, attributes much of his success to his Bishop Grimes foundation.

After living in the San Francisco Bay area more than 20 years, Jim looks back fondly on his time at Bishop Grimes, sharing, “I had friends that went to other CNY high schools, but Grimes distinguished itself as a special school because of the caliber of students. Grimes valued academics, but it also emphasized

collaboration among students, and it was a very supportive culture. This allowed me to forge more meaningful relationships with students and teachers. In the workforce, regardless of your profession, relationships are critical, and Grimes gave me a head start by fostering a culture of inclusiveness and collaboration.”

Plus, because much of the student body arrived via feeder Catholic schools throughout Syracuse and the surrounding area, many of Jim’s close friends at Grimes weren’t from his neighborhood.  “I used to joke with my mother that we’re a diverse group of Catholics,” he said. He looks back on his experience with a smile on his face as he shares that members of the class of 1987 were kind-hearted and funny, and some were academically minded. An active student, Jim was a member of many clubs and participated in football, basketball, and tennis. He and Dan Hogan even went to the sectional finals for tennis, which Jim shares jokingly, “We lost that last match because Dan had to back to take Tammy, his then-girlfriend and now wife, to prom.”  Jim also participated in drama productions with Fr. Sanborn, including Mary Poppins, Grease, The Wizard of Oz, and Pinocchio. He shares that extracurricular activities were a way to keep students out of trouble, but through them, Jim learned work ethic, time management, and skills he’s carried into his professional life.

Jim learned one of life’s greatest, and most tragic lessons, when his classmate and friend, Rob Fortin, passed away within two years of their graduation. Jim shared, “because I moved away and have lived on the West coast for so long, most of my connections to Grimes are memories. I fondly reflect on my time and experiences my classmates on a regular basis and use the values that were instilled in me to advance in my career and personal life.”

After graduating from Bishop Grimes, Jim attended Onondaga Community College and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. He started at a local PR firm that has since been acquired by Eric Mower & Associates and then worked with Philips in Manlius, N.Y. At Philips he was promoted and accepted a position in Atlanta, GA., before being promoted again, taking him to San Francisco, CA, in 2000. Jim worked for a few start-ups before beginning with Cisco in 2002. In 2005 he accepted a position with Microsoft Corporation as the Senior Public Relations Manager. Jim returned to Cisco in 2008 where he’s been the Head of the Technology PR and Global Media Relations organizations, managing media engagements with the CEO and top executives of the company, which generates over $50 billion in revenue annually. He shares, “In my role in corporate communications, I do a lot of writing and storytelling and view myself as the man behind the women and men of the companies I represent.  I try to surround myself with good people, much like my time at Grimes!”

Last month, Jim decided to leave Cisco and join a new company called ServiceNow, an up-and-coming software-as-a-service company, as its director of product and technology communications. Jim shares, “You only live once and as I’ve celebrated milestones, I do not want to be complacent. I want to challenge myself, as my Grimes’ experience helped teach me — you get out what you put in.”

When asked for advice he could pass onto students and others, he said, “Success is a state of mind. I’ve reached some of my goals, and hopefully, with hard work and good fortune, I’ll reach them all.  I think everyone has the capacity to be successful with hard work, the right attitude and a degree of fearlessness.  Never underestimate the importance of nurturing your relationships — past and present — not only for your career but for a happy and healthy life.”

Jim now lives in Danville, California, in the Bay Area’s east bay region, with his wife Debbie and their three-year-old son, Liam.


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