A tribute to Laurie Young.

A short while ago, B2B Marketing lost one of its greatest proponents and thought leaders. As much as that term “thought leadership” is bandied about incorrectly, this man truly understood what it meant, and was passionate about sharing it with the world.

I also lost a friend, and I know I’m not the only one, many, many people counted Laurie as a friend and mentor, he was so generous with his time, his ideas and his help. Sadly, I was not able to attend his funeral as one of my sisters was getting married, and it has taken me a while to put together this piece, as much closure for myself as well as paying tribute to Laurie.

I first met Laurie when I was a member of the Marketing Society, trying to get attention for the B2B members. Laurie was incredibly generous with his time and contacts, and we were able to get a substantial amount of attention, with B2B now a big focus for the Marketing Society. Our friendship continued as we discovered a mutual passion for writing, and promoting real thought leadership in marketing. His favourite story, set many years ago as one of the first examples of thought leadership, I will leave you to read in his upcoming book.

He introduced me to new people all the time, whether for business or just for getting to know them personally, and I have made at least one very great friendship as a result.

Having built up and successfully sold an agency, he also gave me invaluable advice, and challenged me on what we were doing with the business, helping us to mature and achieve what we wanted.

Laurie always managed to dispense advice gracefully and genuinely, and when we met for what turned out to be the final time at the Criterion in London, he made me promise, hand over heart, that I would write and publish a book in the next few years as I have always wanted to do.

When he failed to show up for our next meeting, which we had arranged together only a couple of days before, I knew something was wrong. Laurie was unfailingly polite and well mannered, and never once did I know him to not answer a phone message or email – even when travelling in China! Laurie had agreed to take part in a session with our customers to help advise us on our next direction,  and it was so unlike him to not turn up as promised.

I awoke at 2am the following morning and couldn’t sleep, idly checked my email and had one from a contact announcing what had happened.

I was, and still am, shocked at his sudden passing. I feel for his family (whom I didn’t know), and for Laurie, he did so much and I hope he knows how much he is missed.

About the Author

Charlotte Graham-Cumming

Director, Ice Blue Sky Ltd

2 thoughts on “A tribute to Laurie Young.

  1. Debra Fox says

    Charlotte I to have a similar story to tell about Laurie, he was my career touchstone too. A close friend of his said at his memorial “to know Laurie is to owe Laurie”, how true for everyone that I’ve spoken to.
    I’m setting up a memorial page on his website and we can link your tribute to him from there, also I’ll let you have the details of a event being held on 22nd January, keep it free and we can swop stories there.

  2. Charlotte Graham-Cumming
    Charlotte Graham-Cumming says

    Thanks Debra, what a lovely idea. I will put the date in my diary. I still owe you a coffee too, I have been travelling so will call when I am back next week.

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