Yesterday morning, the AEC community lost a marketing star, and I have lost a dear friend. Barbara Falconer and I met each other many years ago at a two-day marketing workshop at SmithGroup. With children of the same age and an affinity for all things dramatic, Barbara and I became instant friends, and we sustained a long-distance friendship for more than 20 years. We shared space under a desk during the 1998 Seattle earthquake, and we coached each other through raising children as working moms, career shifts, project recovery, and more proposals than any two marketers should admit to writing.
Barbara reminds me of the importance of the relationships we build with each other in this field. We stay up late together writing, drawing, collating, and editing. We celebrate when our teams win, and we cry when they don’t. We share our work stress, and we advise each other through the inevitable challenges in each of our lives and careers. For those of us who are lucky, our friendships are deep and permanent. We come in and out of each other’s lives, and we share our dreams, our insecurities, and our aspirations in intense spurts of activity and more sustained periods of support.
Barbara was the calm voice on the other end of the phone, my work wife, and my partner in crime. She taught me how to make chocolate chili, and she shared her incredible family in Chicago with me. As recently as two months ago, Barbara and I were planning a spa weekend and looking forward to catching up in person. We thought we’d have more time.
I was so fortunate to spend time with Barbara before she passed, and I got to tell her how much I love her and how much her friendship has meant to me. I am forever grateful to her husband and children for welcoming me into that sacred space and time. Even in the last week of her life, Barbara shared her irreverent sense of humor; we laughed, sang (badly), and cried. Our friendship was honest and true; she reminded me to be my best, and I hope I did the same for her.
In honor of Barbara, I celebrate the friendships in our lives, the people who make a difference in our worlds and who stick with us through thick and thin, who weather the changes in our industry and in our lives, who get older with us and who intertwine their stories with ours in so many ways. Ours is an industry of storytellers, and Barbara was the best of us.
Keep the light on for us, Barbara, and rest well.