Remembered around the world

Remembered around the world

Yesterday, Laura would have given a great speech in Istanbul, Turkey. (The day before she passed away, she was still arguing with me about whether we should cancel or attend – and she was winning the argument.)

The setting for her talk, which was to be shared with our friend and colleague Natalia McDonagh, was the annual Congress of the European Association of Chemical Distributors (FECC). Laura and I attended this conference in Rome two years ago, when she and Natalia gave a tremendous seminar on reputation management.

Laura and I had worked on the periphery of the FECC for years – the Tin Cans client base in western Europe is heavy with chemical and chemical distribution companies. But it wasn’t until Natalia approached us about presenting with her that we jumped in with both feet.

That Rome presentation went very well – better than I thought it would, really – given that it was put together via Skype. (Natalia was based in London at the time.) The audience was engaged and asked great questions. The ladies even ran long, but no one seemed to mind. It was a wonderful introduction to the organization.

The highlight of that trip, however, was all of the wonderful people – the members of FECC – who welcomed us into their fold. From the event’s opening reception to the big formal dinner, FECC delegates were gracious and inviting, always seeking out their American guests. (Laura and I were pretty much the only Americans in attendance.) They really made us – who aren’t technically in the chemical distribution business – feel like members of their professional family. It was a tremendous feeling to be part of such a group.

That feeling returned in full force yesterday, when I received a very nice note from Natalia, who now heads up marketing for Brenntag UK and Ireland. She had just finished giving the presentation she would have shared with Laura, and couldn’t wait to share with me how the entire FECC had just held a long round of applause dedicated to Laura’s memory.

Here is what Natalia wrote to me:

Today at FECC Congress, I have dedicated the presentation to Laura. The delegates were shocked to learn of Laura’s untimely passing and wholeheartely agreed on her utmost charisma and passion for the industry that was so obvious to everyone who ever spoke with Laura. I told the audience of how she was looking forward to meeting with the delegates again. There was a long round of applause in dedication to Laura, as many delegates remembered her from her presentation two years ago. A number of people asked me afterwards to pass their condolences to her family and friends. I personally really miss her. She had that ability to touch the hearts of so many people who met her.

Jeff Peyton
Don’t be fooled by Jeff’s accomplishments in communications, crisis and business management. He also wing-walked on an airplane at 700 feet, co-piloted the Goodyear Blimp and swam with sharks – and still managed to obtain paperwork officially declaring him “legally sane.” Really.