MEG Purser has been remembered as the ultimate people person and an irreplaceable communication expert, friend and mentor.
The Purser Corporate Communication managing director, 53, passed away from breast cancer on January 14.
She has been celebrated as a woman who lit up every room, helped Hunter entities share their stories and relished contributing to the community she loved.
Ms Purser's father and the company founder, Bob, said they agreed after her graduation that gaining experience in the public and private sectors would make her more effective in public affairs and communication consultancy.
"In the following decade she worked at Charles Sturt University, Port Waratah Coal Services and Peach Advertising," he said.
"Ten years to the day of that discussion she reminded me of that arrangement and joined the business."
They agreed not to talk about their home lives in the office and to limit business discussions at family gatherings, "for fear of boring her mother Noleen and partner Scott witless".
Westpac Rescue Helicopter chief executive officer Richard Jones said Ms Purser had been an advisor to the service, used to produce its magazine, developed relationships with its patients and continued to support it however she could.
The Pursers were the first members of the service's Club 139, which was established to mark the arrival of the Agusta Westland AW139 aircraft and support the region's aeromedical services.
"Her empathy and her genuineness were what shone through," he said.
"I can't speak highly enough of her.
"She's touched so many people and could light up a room."
He said Ms Purser donated her time and skills to a "multitude" of charitable organisations "because she wanted to make a difference".
She served on several boards over the past 20 years, including at the Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation, Throsby Basin Business Chamber, Hunter Manufacturing Awards committee and WEA Hunter.
HMRI chairman Kyle Loades said Ms Purser made an "outstanding" contribution to the region.
He founded Auto Advantage in 2001 and said Ms Purser was the first person he asked to help him grow it.
"She literally - with all the different charities - saved lives and helped lives progress in a healthy way," he said.
"Her legacy for me is that she taught people by what she said, but also by how she acted herself, to enjoy life and take whatever you choose to do seriously at the same time.
"Also to help others, even if there's nothing that can come back for you personally, to go out of your way to help others, because you get a lot of personal enjoyment from that."
He said he admired the "strength and resilience" she had shown in fighting the disease.
Got Your Back Sista founder Melissa Histon and Ms Purser met in 2002 but lost contact, before reconnecting and becoming friends.
Ms Purser served as a pro-bono advisor to GYBS.
Ms Histon said Ms Purser believed in people, their ideas - "she would say 'Let's make it happen'," - and doing the right thing for the community.
She was inclusive and brought people under her wing; generous; classy and loved fun, animals and shoes.
"I'm just devastated and miss her terribly," Ms Histon said.
"I miss the fun and good times, but also she was so wise and kind.
"I can't believe she's not here anymore. There's no-one like Meg.
"She was absolutely a one of a kind beautiful, unique woman and business woman. She came from the heart.
"She touched our hearts and made us better."
Ms Histon said Ms Purser was one of her "go to girls".
"If you needed advice and said 'This is what's going on', she would give you guidance," she said.
"She was an unsung hero and was always lifting and supporting everyone else.
"When she was talking with you she was with you 100 per cent.
"She would make you feel like you were important, not in status, but just as a human being. That what you had to say mattered."
Purser communication consultant Gracyn Endacott said the small team was in "disbelief" at the loss of their mentor, who fostered a family environment where employees felt safe, supported and could learn and grow.
"She's brought us up to a place where we can run our clients the way that she would want us to and we are going to continue that legacy on for her and continue her business on as long as we can," she said.
"She has given us all the skills and support that we've ever needed that we can go on and do great things.
"I know we will do everything we can to not let her down."
Mr Purser said his daughter received her diagnosis in July 2019 and "refused point blank to allow that disease to define her", working full-time until just before Christmas.
He said the family was grateful to the medical and nursing staff who cared for her, particularly at the Mercy Hospice Waratah.
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