Marilyn Laurie was a strong role model for me as well as a friend. My affection for her was less related to what she did than to who she was. A strong, powerful woman who had the ability to comprehend, analyze and manage a significant role in a complex social, economic and political world. And, she was a believer in what was important to me – a corporation’s social responsibility to its marketplace and community.

I never got over her journey from launching Earth Day as a community activity to ending up as the senior woman officer at AT&T –- especially at a time when there were no role models or counterparts in those ranks.

As others have noted, she had the unique ability to cut to the chase and articulate complex issues in clearly defined, simple and practical terms. In my AT&T Foundation days, Marilyn convened a meeting with the sales people that coveted nonprofits as business customers. She opened the meeting with: “Okay, so the problem is the nonprofits want something from you (pointing at us) and you want something from them (pointing at the sales people).” We then proceeded to clarify what might be permissible, acceptable, ethical, etc. in having philanthropic relationships enable sales opportunities.

One example of many in which she shared her unique critical thinking, sensitivity and humor. I’m adjusting to the fact that she’s gone and will miss her.