On Friday 28 June 2019 the ‘Marie Taylor Room’ at Cambridge Judge Business School was officially dedicated by friends, Cambridge Judge faculty and staff, and family of the late Marie Taylor (MBA 2001).
The meeting room, in the very centre of the brand new Simon Sainsbury Centre, is the perfect place for Marie, who embodied the values of Cambridge Judge in everything she did and was.
Marie came to the School as a Sainsbury Scholar, fresh from her role as Head of HR for the disability equality charity Scope. The five annual Sainsbury scholarships were designed to allow candidates from the charitable and voluntary sectors to study for a Cambridge MBA and then take that experience back to impact their field. As her friend and classmate Max Purser reminded us at the dedication event:
“The very fact she was in the room, the resilient nature of her character, her willingness to stand up and challenge at what was a formative time for many of us, developing our thinking on the type of leader we wanted to be was critical. With Marie, the scholarship’s impact went well beyond its original ambition. There are 83 colleagues from Marie’s 2001 class out there in the world who have been positively influenced by both Marie’s decision to study here and the Sainsbury bursary to sponsor her.”
Following her MBA, Marie’s successful personal coaching business continued to be all about the transformation of people, and she worked with a huge variety of senior civil servants, major corporates and other high-profile clients. Marie also returned to the School as a Fellow in Organisational Theory & Information Systems.
During her time as a student, Marie Taylor was the heart and soul of her year and in many other settings. Her untimely death from pancreatic cancer came as a huge, and cruel, shock.
Testament to the love her MBA classmates had for Marie was the immediate collective fundraising campaign for a room at the School in her memory. As they launched the campaign in 2018, they wrote:
“We’d be hard-pressed to find a single person in our MBA class who did not consider Marie a friend. Her quick wit and easy laughter were paired with a deep understanding of human behaviour and she could read a room, or a person, with a single glance. Marie was often the person we turned to when something was amiss, and she was always the person we turned to when there was fun to be had. She was a fantastic classmate and everyone wanted her on their team (except perhaps when solving accounting problems).”
The class of 2001, as well as Marie’s family and Cambridge Judge faculty, raised over £70,000 towards the cost of the room, and the School made a further contribution of £30,000 to name the space in her honour.
The celebration for the room dedication was attended by many of Marie’s MBA classmates, who had flown in from New Zealand, the United States, China, Denmark, Malaysia and many other corners of the globe to celebrate her life. Her close friends Angeli Weller and Max Purser (both MBA 2001) presented moving and humorous eulogies; Marie’s sister Kathy cut the yellow ribbon to formally open the room; Marie’s niece Clare spoke for the family; and Sandra Dawson, Dean whilst Marie was studying, delivered the opening remarks and made a toast in Marie’s memory.
Before leaving, guests covered the whiteboard wall in the Marie Taylor Room with spontaneous memories and messages to Marie, many of which referenced her infectious laugh and endless capacity for friendship.
The day closed with a black-tie dinner for Marie’s classmates at her former College, St Catharine’s.
In Marie’s words:
Consider the focus of your intent.
What will you achieve?
What will you leave behind?
What will you carry with you?
Consider the locus of your purpose.
What are you creating right now?
What is your legacy?
Here’s to your purpose-filled life!