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First Class Redhead: A Real Pan Am Success Story with Lou Hammond, the Original NYC Power Chick

Public Relations guru of New York City, Lou Hammond, transformed a small company into an award-winning independent marketing communications agency with offices in New York, Palm Beach and Charleston, South Carolina.

She began her successful career at Pan American World Airways, where she served as director of promotion, publicity and public affairs for fifteen years.

With the hype of the new ABC series Pan Am, How to be a Redhead sat down with Lou Hammond to speak about her career at Pan American World Airways, her dazzling success, and of course, her red hair.

H2BAR: Did being a redhead influence your career as a Pan American employee?

LH: Redheads get noticed. On top of having red hair, people remember you for your work. Put the two together and it’s a great combination!

H2BAR: Was becoming a Pan American employee always a dream of yours?

LH: It was the dream job of all jobs! During my time at Pan American, I was a lobbyist for the state and the city of New York. My position was legendary for women during this time and I was allowed to see and experience the world.

H2BARWe have read that Pan American employees had strict standards in terms of  academics and appearance. What was your experience with this?

LH: It was very strict. We always wore stockings and absolutely no jeans. I remember when they decided women could wear pant suits,  it was such a big deal.  They had models come in and gave us a fashion show on how we should be wearing pants “appropriately.”

Because of Pan American’s motto – “if you do it, do it right” I learned valuable lessons on how to run a successful company.

H2BAR: What is your favorite memory as a young women working for Pan American?

LH: As a redhead, you are expected to have a voice. As a lobbyist in New York, there was an Assembly bill and I was very vocal about how I thought it should be written.  They called me Lucille Ball, but we won the day.  Perhaps I lived up to my redhead  expectation, but it was rewarding to stick up for what I believed in.

When I lived in  Lebanon, I would be referred to in Arabic as Al-Hamra,’ that means ‘The Red One,’ or ‘Redhead
is Here,  When walking down the streets it sounded like music.

H2BAR: Are you going to be watching ABC’s new Pan Am show?

LH: Yes! I’ve watched a few episodes.

H2BAR: What are your top beauty tips for redheads?

LH: Dress up your hair as it is unusual and styling counts. Also, stay out of the sun. Redheads simply cannot take the rays and forget tanning; not in our best interests ever. Lastly, don’t be afraid to wear color! I love orange, purple and even red, it makes us look glamorous.

H2BAR: What is your favorite life quote to live by?

LH: Word hard, pay your dues, set standards and remember to have fun!