Laura first entered the direct marketing industry at the age of 17 when she was hired by industry legend Alice Zea. After a few years at AZ Marketing Services, Laura accepted a position at RMI Direct Marketing in 1988, where she quickly rose in the ranks and became the main cog in RMI's growth and development wheel. She was soon promoted to Vice-President, Director of Management, yet, despite her ambition and strong work ethic, her infectious smile never left her face. She had a contagious optimism that permeated throughout RMI, and everyone she touched. She was known for her lively personality, integrity, intelligence and wit, superior professionalism, and her practical jokes.
RMI would like to honor, reminisce & celebrate this special person and the legacy she left.
I was the target of a classic practical joke on April's Fools Day in 1998. My wife, Sharon, was pregnant with our first child with a due date a week away. Laura and a co-worker had distracted me and got ahold of my car keys and worked with Sharon to pull off a well-coordinated, epic prank.
“I get a call from my wife telling me to hurry home for she just went into labor. Before she even finished her sentence, I'm racing out of the office and flying down the 3 flights of stairs. When I get to the parking lot in full sprint, I start searching for my car keys while a million thoughts are clogging my head (i.e. is she packed, am I packed, do I have enough booze, is the car gassed up, do I have enough booze, which hospital are we going to, do I have enough booze, etc.), when it dawned on me that I'm at the end of the parking lot and I passed my car. Or so I thought. Then I realized the car isn't where I parked it. I looked around furiously, but nothing. I can't believe it; MY CAR WAS STOLEN!!!!! Of all days!!!!!! And I start kicking myself for I just recently got into the bad habit of not locking my car at work. As I make my way back to the building in disbelief, and trying to sort out how I'm going to get home, I notice the entire office came out to watch me leave. But then I notice that they're all laughing. I'm shocked!!!! I'm shocked that they find my car being stolen so amusing. I mean friends like that who needs...when it hit me like a lightning bolt, I've been PUNKED...BIG TIME!!! Laura took my keys earlier and gave them to Walter to move my car, she then convinced my very reluctant wife to make the “phony labor phone call.”
I first met Laura when I was just out of college working a summer job. She came through my line and overheard me talking about wanting a job in a marketing company. I gave her my resume and started at RMI about 2 weeks later. Laura taught me so much in those first few months-brand new to the industry- with tons of questions- not an easy task! She always had a smile on her face no matter what and would drop whatever she was doing to help me. Everyone loved and respected her tremendously. She was a huge prankster and loved Halloween. I'm lucky I had the chance to work with her. She is greatly missed!
Hudson Valley Direct Marketing Association-HVDMA
“The HVDMA awards 3 deserving college students each year with scholarships in Laura L. Smith’s honor. We reflect and remember Laura for her leadership and contribution to the direct marketing industry. These awards are gifted to students who demonstrate a passion for direct and interactive marketing. Recipients are selected for academic excellence, enthusiasm, professional qualities and their likelihood to contribute and add value to our professional community. All qualities Laura L. Smith possessed and shared with her friends and colleagues.”
The three things I remember most about Laura (other than her practical jokes) are her vivacious personality, how highly respected she was by her clients and colleagues, and her love of Halloween. Laura never failed to surprise and entertain us with her Halloween costumes. And, of course, she always brought Dixie (her macaw) into the office to enjoy the Halloween festivities with us.
For many years, we were competitors when I worked for Atlantic List Company. However, Laura had my utmost respect for her vast knowledge, professionalism, and management style. She used to tell me that I should come to work at RMI since I lived in the area and we’d see each other occasionally around town. Three years after we lost her, I accepted a job with the company. I often think about Laura and one of my biggest regrets is not having the opportunity to work alongside her. Her legacy and memory are strong here and we miss her presence greatly.
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