Jean Marie Collin
Occupation:Pfizer Inc. | Risk ManagerReflections:Jean Marie Collin Memorial Scholarship FundEducation:Pace University
Jean Marie Collin was born in New York City on November 3, 1958. Her parents, Joe and Charlotte lived in an area called Stuyvesant Town, on the City’s lower east side. For the next 43 years, Jean was to make Stuyvesant Town her home, living with her parents and sister Kathy and brother Kevin in her early years and, later in life, on her own. After attending neighborhood parochial schools, Jean was accepted at St.Vincent Ferrer High School on the City’s Upper East Side. Upon graduation, Jean enrolled in the nearby Grace Institute where she completed a one-year secretarial program. Thereafter, at age 19, Jean began working as a secretary at Pfizer, Inc. headquarters in New York City. Pfizer, world leader in pharmaceuticals, was to be Jean’s only employer for her entire 23-year professional career. At Pfizer, Jean enjoyed secretarial work. After a few years, she became familiar with Pfizer’s business and various management disciplines and Jean felt that she had the capability to handle more responsibility and challenging assignments. So, she made a major commitment to advance her education and to gain business skills. Combining her can-do spirit and aspirations to get ahead, Jean took the initiative and enrolled in the Pace University evening education program in 1980. Jean’s true measure as a unique and determined individual was demonstrated as she undertook and completed an eleven year educational journey that saw her progress from an introductory business program, to a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and finally to a Master Degree of Business Administration in Strategic Management. Throughout these many years, with full-time work responsibilities, family, social and recreational activities, Jean displayed the patience, vigor and persistence to do what was needed to develop professional skills and to advance her business career. At Pfizer, the rewards for Jean’s hard work and development into a motivated business person became evident through a series of promotions whereby Jean progressed from secretary to cash management work, to financial analysis, to risk management and eventually to the position of Risk Manager. In this latter position, Jean was responsible for Pfizer’s property insurance at its many facilities around the world. The position required Jean to travel extensively. She became well known throughout Pfizer’s operations as well as with insurance carriers and related companies who transacted business with Jean and Pfizer. Her pleasant demeanor and kindness to others were hallmarks of her business dealings. Despite the demands of work and education, Jean made time for an active social life, good friends and family. She had an outgoing personality and a host of friends from all walks of life and in many countries around the world. Despite her business success, Jean never forgot her roots and maintained neighborhood friendships that had begun as far back as early childhood. Her niece and nephew, Jennie and Matthew, occupied a special place in her heart and Jean was the aunt always there when needed. She was especially close to her sister Kathy. In the late 1980’s, Jean added another endeavor to her already full schedule: physical fitness. With the same spirit and energy that launched her educational journey, Jean began jogging and, with her best friend Don, road racing as members of the New York Road Runners Club. Being an avid goal setter, Jean set the NY City Marathon as her next accomplishment and met the goal with a complete marathon in 1989. She subsequently completed two additional New York City Marathons and adopted a daily routine of exercise that kept her fit and healthy. As a “city girl” Jean often longed for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. In 1992, and despite being a lifetime apartment dweller, Jean made the bold move to home ownership with the purchase of a weekend home in Roxbury, New York. Aside from being an early adventure in repairs and gardening, the Roxbury home became Jean’s weekend and vacation refuge to complete her studies, to go for long runs, to enjoy nature and the surrounding Catskills’ scenery. In Roxbury, as she did throughout her life and no matter there she went, Jean happily made many new friends. With a life so full and a place in her heart for everyone, Jean deserved a long and fulfilling life. Unfortunately, on 9/11/01 Jean was making a presentation to an insurance group at the World Trade Center and was tragically taken from us in the disaster of that day. There is no way to fathom why; Jean worked uptown and was only there for the presentation. In 2001, Jean had traveled around the world. One could not imagine that a short trip downtown would place her in harm’s way. Jean’s passing has left a void in many lives-and one that may never be filled. We treasure her spirit and seek assurance that it will live on. At a memorial service, Jean’s friend Don suggested that family and friends dwell on the positive and remember three important dimensions of her life: a wonderful and friendly person, a remarkably accomplished woman, and an especially pretty girl. Jean’s attitudes, study habits and positive goal setting were strongly influenced by her education at St. Vincent Ferrer. She often commented that her appreciation for St. Vincent Ferrer grew as she realized what she was able to accomplish as a result, in part, of her earlier high school education. Through the Jean Marie Collin Memorial Scholarship, funding will be provided to students who, in some way, can demonstrate that they measure up to the character, courage and spirit of a Jean Collin. No better honor can be provided than remembering Jean through help and support to others at St.Vincent Ferrer.