5 Life Lessons Learned

I began blogging 3 1/2 years ago back in March of 2007.  Today I’ll share 5 lessons I learned from my friend Long Beach Realtor, Laurie Manny.  Blogging was pretty new when I started back then and SandbarsToSunsets, actually grew from our beginning blogging experience on Active Rain. It was an amazing time on Active Rain back in 2007 when it was a  new, vibrant, synergistic real social network for Realtors that had magically attracted the best forward thinking tech savvy Realtors in the nation. It was a time and place where selfless learning and sharing was at it’s best. That’s where I first met Laurie Manny, a Long Beach Real Estate agent, a top blogger and moderator. I was lucky enough to have her take an personal interest in me and she became my mentor and ultimately one of my best friends.

This past week Laurie died unexpectantly and it’s been hard to put my thoughts into words, however, today I wanted to honor and share a little more about my amazing friend who gave so much so selflessly to so many.  I’m still wrapping my head around her being gone and knowing she’s no longer just a phone call away but Laurie taught us many lessons by the way she lived her life and as we remember these we keep her and her memory alive in each of us….

Lesson 1 – Pay if Forward

In 2007 when Laurie Manny was chosen as one of the Top 12 Women Real Estate Bloggers they commented on how “she was always willing to share internet marketing tips”. Truer words were never said. She was always sharing her expertise by giving you tips and insights on how to be better bloggers or do things to get better Google results so we could rank well online and ultimately connect with and help more clients in our area. If you asked a questions – she’d give you the unvarnished “truth” as she knew it. The first time she commented on my Active rain blog was when I asked a questions about how points worked on Active Rain and she gave me several detailed answers. She spent more time quietly reading others and encouraging them than putting herself in the spotlight however the time and love she gave to us on Active Rain was never known by most and she liked it that way.  In early 2008 ony a few people know that this blog ran into some major problems and Laurie took it upon herself to reach out and let me know she would like to offer to help us and had gotten some of the best tech and blogging help in the industry standing by offering to help us too. They truly save our blog and never took a penny though we spent countless hours and tears working through a big mess. While the details are not important, the story is because it gives you a glimpse info the private side of who she was, she wasn’t about limelight, she’d see someone she could help and would make time in her busy day to just do it. As I reflect on those times today my eyes well with tears because like St Francis she showed her love through actions not words, so in her memory I challenge each of us to think about who we can help, just because.

Lesson 2 – Always Do the Right Thing

For those of us that knew Laurie, we know that political correctness or saying what people wanted to hear wasn’t in her. She was a woman of principle and her New York upbringing prepared her to be direct, honest and not backdown from uncomfortable situations and I admired her for that. She was vigilant about protecting her fellow Realtors in the blogging world and was all about backlinks because she knew that’s where the power is and didn’t want it taken from the “creators of content” without them even realizing it. I remember several times she’d bring issues to light and the heated discussions that would follow regarding Active Rain, Trulia and more. She would do the unpopular to do what she believe was right. She always fought fair and with the facts. She was a pitbull who couldn’t have the wool pulled over her eyes and pity the person that tried! In her memory each of us has to trust our voices and let them be heard even when it’s controversial! She encouraged each of us to be ourselves and trust that – we have continue to remember that!

Lesson 3 – Take time to Reach out and Touch Someone

As I reflect on the impact Laurie had on me and now I realize so many others as I read other tributes to her, the common theme is Laurie always took time to reach out to people and really connect and care. People thought she was all about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) but in the words of Jeff Turner she was always about YEO – “You Engaging Others”.  I believe Laurie was living “social networking” before it was the buzz word it is today. Those that know her know she would pick up the phone and call someone she’d been watching online, out of the blue and next thing you knew…you had a real friendship growing. She would always have great wisdom and insight to share but mostly she truly “wanted the best” for each person and you knew it – it was this selfless caring that made her so special. She didn’t do it because there was anything in it for her, she did it because she cared deeply about her peers and the real estate industry.  She also opened the door to so many other special friendships in my life (You know who you are).  We have so many chances today – in her memory consider picking up the phone or sending an hand written note and take a relationship deeper – it will be her perpetual gift to each of us.

Lesson 4 – Always Do Your Best

There’s lots of talk in the RE.net about “raising the bar” and Laurie was someone who was always raising the bar. She was never satisfied to rest on her laurels. She stayed committed to constantly questioning, learning, growing and being the best Realtor possible and then sharing that knowledge with others. She loved her hometown of Long Beach and was an expert in not only it’s neighborhoods and real estate but she also was an expert in how to be found online. What you saw was what you got, a hard working, bright, dedicated, caring Realtor and friend.  Let’s continue to help each other learn and grow in her memory.

Lesson 5 – Live in the Present and make the World a Better Place

Finally, Laurie Manny was so much more than just Long Beach Real Estate, in 2008 there was a Labor Day Meme going around where you can learn a little more about her, anyway one of the questions asked was, If you could live in any point in history what would it be and why? Her answer was pure Laurie…”History sucked for women, why would I want to live in it? I want to live in the present and do something about creating a better future for our world” …and make it a better place she did! I believe if Laurie had one wish for each of us it would be to do just that…live in the present and do something about creating a better future for our clients, our peers, our industry and our world!

When I read this quote I thought of Laurie. She was an amazing woman who I was lucky enough to have call me “friend” and if you didn’t have the chance to get to know her you can still benefit from the wealth of knowledge she left behind. Her friends have posted sunflowers on their Facebook profiles to honor the woman we adored until she’s laid to rest later this week. Rest in Peace Laurie, and I know you and Joe Ferrara will we watching out for all of us from heaven.  You are deeply missed but not forgotten. Your friend, Cyndee

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  1. Michelle DeRepentigny says:

    Just the perfect tribute. And I plan to pick up the phone in her honor this week!

  2. Cyndee, absolutely beautiful and so true! You captured Laurie’s essence so well.

    We will all miss her greatly. She was one of a kind!

  3. Cyndee,

    This is beautiful … great thoughts to ponder. I feel a very special bond this week with the friends of Laurie Manny.

    You hit the nail square on the head with this post. This describes Laurie beautifully! Thanks so much.


  4. Frances, I believe her last gift was the bouquet of friends she’d picked for each of us, connected and woven togehter with love from her heart strings. :)xoxo back at you!!

    Michelle – you read my mind, time is fleeting and we can’t put off until “tomorrow” since it may never come. Love you!!!!

  5. Cyndee- This is a lovely tribute to Laurie. She would be so pleased to know how highly you thought of her and that she did indeed leave a legacy to her friends.

  6. A moving tribute for an outstanding woman. I didn’t know Laurie as well as you did, but I think she is smiling down on the loving respect that her friends are sharing.

  7. Cyndee, beautifully written from the heart. I never got to speak with Laurie face to face or on the phone, but had some great facebook “conversations” with her. One of the last was about people not engaging – something she couldn’t understand. She’s left behind friends, fans and a hole in the real estate and blogging worlds.

  8. Laurie was a remarkable woman in this life. But even now that she is gone she is still teaching us – and I mean more than just blogging and SEO.

  9. Kaye, thank you. I know she’s the reason we met 🙂 – she left a legacy of special friendships behind.

    Leslie, you all would have been great friends given the chance because she was as “honest, real and results oriented” as you are! Hope we get to see each other in October in NH 🙂 Loved meeting and spending time together!!

    Lisa, you were her kinda gal and it’s a real reminder that I need to do a better job of connecting with you cause I read your awesome blog religiously but we haven’t had any “chats” in way to long. ((hugs))

    Dena – you know it. I realized that too. Thank you for being such a friend to her and the icing on the cake was that YEP she knew her SEO :)!

  10. Cyndee- Reading the lessons you learned from Laurie I found myself nodding my head and saying “yep”. We all have so many of our own memories..however, unselfish and caring were 2 of the most common traits Laurie shared with practically everyone. This was a really nice tribute…I know that Laurie’s legacy will be carried on by you and so many more people.

  11. This has been a total shock to me and my wife (who used to read her posts on facebook)….She was certainly one of the people who would take my call anytime to discuss an issue or for me to get a validating opinion regarding the “blog”…..and yes she was helpful during the blog mess many of us experienced. Just shows how fast things can change but she was a positive in this world.

  12. Beautiful tribute for a great lady, Cyndee. I like to think Laurie is smiling broadly these last few days. Sunflowers have acquired a new meaning.

  13. Susie Blackmon says:

    Beautiful, Cyndee.
    Love you.

  14. Brian P. Forrester says:

    That was a touching tribute Cyndee. I am sorry for your and the real estate community’s loss.

  15. Cyndee This is a very touching and inspiring post. VERY thoughful of you to take the time to write such a grateful awe inspiring post regarding whom Laurie Manny was as a friend and person as a whole. It never ceases to amaze me the amazing connectedness we all had back in 2007 from the birth of Active Rain! For that all of the early adapters techie blog Rainers sincerely thank you Active Rain for initially connecting me with some of the best people in the industry I now proudly call FRIENDS!! 🙂

  16. Susan Goulding says:

    Cyndee just lovely. There is such a hole left right now. Laurie was unique one of a kind woman! She was even willing to help ME with my blog. Now what we all do now that our mentor is gone? Who will we call? We will all have to be stronger together! Laurie passing is being felt everywhere

  17. Bill Nazur says:

    Cyndee….you have moved me to tears as I had just spoken to Laurie about a week before her passing. A business project pulled me away, but I still look at so much of what you’ve said as if Laurie were talking to me one minute, while letting me challenge her the next. We learned, laughed, and grew together, even when we disagreed (which wasnt too often). It is evident how deep the love for Laurie really is…I look forward to honoring her friendship next week in Long Beach.

  18. Cyndee: A wonderful tribute to Laurie. A very generous spirit and always helping & SHARING.

  19. Cyndee – How lucky you are…

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