Pam Laird Catalyst Profile

Pam Laird
San Francisco and Occidental, CAPam125

Pam Laird was having a pretty good run in consumer marketing when she collided with an infectious agent that clawed at her intelligence and disabled her body’s ability to make energy.

In the 20 years before her illness, she graduated from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University as well as earned her MBA from NU’s Kellogg School of Management in an accelerated program. She climbed the brand management ladder at Procter & Gamble and The Clorox Company and later founded p.s.l. marketing resources, for which she was named 1991 San Francisco Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and earned a place in Who’s Who of American Women. Pam served on the boards of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Advocates for Women, and Leadership San Francisco. She was an avid skier, runner and swimmer, and regularly put in long days wielding a chainsaw or ax, clearing space for a garden.

In 1993, she contracted a flu-like illness from which she has not yet recovered. She had no choice but to sell her company. In the ensuing 20 years, when she has not been overwhelmed coraling an ever increasing number of medical problems, she has made a valiant effort to be content to simply choose plants for her garden (for someone else to plant), cheer on her husband and his entrepreneurs, witness and record her life here, now, in these magnificent times.

n 2011, after 13 years of writing lessons, seven years of accumulating credits, Pam received her MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University, a goal far more difficult to achieve than her previous degrees combined. Her poetry and prose explore the impact of living with CFIDS on identity, self-esteem, and the process by which we make our lives meaningful.

This year, Pam joins the CFIDS Association’s Board of Directors as one of five incoming members committed to the vision of a world without CFS. She tweets@pam.