Oral Histories

Marilyn Laurie

Interview Segments on Topic: Arthur Page/Principles/Society/Center

Marilyn Laurie Biography

Marilyn Laurie joined AT&T in 1971 as a nationally recognized environmentalist who helped create Earth Day and the Environmental Action Coalition.  Over the years, she created an environmental education program for AT&T employees, wrote speeches, worked in media relations and corporate advertising.  She recently retired as executive vice president of brand strategy and advertising, was a member of the 10-person Executive Committee and was responsible for leading AT&T’s brand building activities.  In addition, she served as chairman of the AT&T Foundation, overseeing a billion dollars in grants to educational, arts and community organizations throughout the world.

In  2002, Ms. Laurie was elected to the Arthur W. Page Society’s Public Relations Hall of Fame.  She was named one of “New York’s 75 Most Influential Women” by Crain’s, named a PR All-Star twice by Inside PR magazine, and received the Human Relations Award of the American Jewish Committee among many other honors.  Ms. Laurie is a Trustee of Columbia University, a Director of the New York City Ballet and currently is President of Laurie Consulting, Inc and is a past member of the Arthur W. Page Center Advisory Board.

Transcript

Interviewer: In 2002 you were inducted into the Page Society Hall of Fame. What did that honor mean to you both as an executive and as a woman?

Laurie: Oh it was awesome. I had to grow up a little bit to appreciate Arthur Page and I owe Ed Block endlessly for clearing that path for me. As I said about Page at the  meeting, the older I get, the smarter he gets. This seemed to me to be pretty much the ultimate honor I could receive from my peers because it spoke not just to professional accomplishment but it spoke to the Page principles. And I have believed from the day I started, that the truth is the core of the any successful story. I think it was McCann Erickson, an ad agency, that coined a phrase that sums up another aspect of what we do and that was very close to me: “Truth well told”.  It meant a lot because it was Arthur Page. As far as being a woman-- or being the first woman inducted into the Page Society-- I have to tell you I have never  seen myself through that lens.  It may be the reason that I was able to be successful at AT&T was that I didn’t get it. I mean I was told later about various and sundry things that affected me because I was female, but I didn’t get it. I was just  an AT&T person. I didn’t even think of myself as a PR person. I thought of myself as an AT & T person -- with ideas that really could make a difference there.  And I  never could have dreamed that I would end up some day getting the Arthur Page award. It was good.