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June 13, 2023

Rob Gould remembered at WEX, Portland nonprofit Telling Room for 'unique sparkle,' inquisitive mind

Rob Gould portrait Photo / LinkedIn profile Rob Gould died unexpectedly on June 4 at age 56.

Rob Gould, who led global public relations at WEX Inc. and served on the board of Portland nonprofit the Telling Room, died unexpectedly on June 4 of natural causes. He was 56.

A pet parent to feline Rufus who “ran the household and will miss him a lot,” Gould was a fan of art, travel, books and movies, medical anthropology and various forms of exercises, albeit, as he admitted, “grudgingly at times," according to his obituary.

Gould, who grew up in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., graduated from Manchester High School and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Vermont. 

His 25-year career in marketing and public relations led him to WEX, a global financial technology company based in Portland. He joined the company in 2015, after previous roles at the VIA Agency in Portland and at several other marketing firms in the United States and abroad.

In Gould's final LinkedIn post a month ago, he remarked on how lucky he was to work at WEX and with CEO Melissa Smith.

In a note to employees expressing great sadness about Gould’s death, Smith said, “He wore his dedication to our company and our community on his sleeve. He embodied the qualities we hold dear, and was a true WEX brand ambassador. He made an impact on everyone he met, both at WEX and beyond.”

Gould, remembered in the obituary for his wit and gregarious personality, was a volunteer and champion of the Telling Room, a Portland nonprofit that aims to empower young people ages 6 to 18 through writing. 

WEX colleague Laura Shen, the company’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, also served with Gould on the nonprofit’s board through this past spring.

“There was a unique sparkle that Rob brought to everything he touched, whether it was his leadership at WEX, his passion for the Telling Room, or his enthusiasm for the greater Portland and Maine community,” Shen told Mainebiz. “Rob preferred a phone call to text and sported the trendiest rustic plaid designs. Maine chic at its finest. He cared deeply for those around him, and we hope to carry on the sparkle he brought to each of our lives.”

'Honest and inquisitive'

Kristina Powell, executive director of the Telling Room, said “support feels too small a word” to encapsulate what Gould gave to the organization, to herself as a new executive director as of October 2021, and to the wider Telling Room community.

“Unwavering, true and unabashed deep care is what he gave to our organization and mission, which was shown through the time he gave in committees, at young author readings, in board meetings, at events, and in crucial and critical conversations,” she told Mainebiz. 

"Rob was honest and inquisitive," Powell added. "His curiosity and ability to find the connective tissue between people was inspiring ... We will miss his steadfast and unabashed joy and dedication to the Telling Room, his infectious enthusiasm, his laughter and ability to bring joy when he walked into the room.”

Gould is survived by his parents, Mary-Louise Gould of Scarborough, and Donald B. Gould of North Hampton, N.H.; sister Jean Gould of Gorham; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

In accordance with the family’s wishes, WEX will make a contribution to the Telling Room in Gould’s memory and has promised to match employee donations up to $100.

The Telling Room is accepting all donations in Gould's memory here

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