When Audrey Robbins’ father, Mack Forman, first built the Marathon Company no one would have expected his daughter to be an integral part of the business in 2011. But no one who knows her is surprised that she was selected to receive RJO’s Lifetime Achievement Award on the occasion of RJO’s 45th anniversary.Mack Forman believed in the importance of a good education. Audrey graduated from a Quaker all-girls school and was president of her class. Early on she showed the leadership abilities that would serve her so well at Marathon. Audrey went on to college and majored in economics and had a strong interest in business.
Audrey’s older brother Roy Forman had been running the Marathon Company with his father for many years. When Mack Forman passed away in 1982, Roy asked Audrey to join him in the business. Her life to this point had been devoted to raising her two daughters, but with both of her girls in college, Audrey enthusiastically accepted Roy’s offer. She quickly realized that she had a natural acumen for the jewelry business. Roy soon trusted Audrey to take on more responsibilities.
Audrey’s skills enabled her to take on the role of establishing relationships and accounts with independent retail jewelers. She began to travel to all of the major jewelry shows and to get to know the people she was selling, both as customers and eventually as friends. When Audrey was in the office she was constantly on the phone with her contacts. Her warmth and sincerity was clearly evident when she spoke to customers. She was operating under the principles that her father established for the Marathon Company: to be honest, to be trustworthy and to deliver a high quality manufactured piece of jewelry in a timely fashion.
Today, Audrey works full time with her nephews Roger and Guy Forman, sons of her late brother Roy. As the business has modernized Audrey has kept up with and embraced the digital age. When she initially started working at Marathon she was taking orders by pen and paper. Today Audrey uses the Internet and technology to simplify the ordering process and to expedite her customers’ selections. More importantly, Audrey often uses the Marathon website, www.marathon-co.com, together with her customers to help them view the wide variety of products and to make the appropriate Marathon and Kiddie Kraft selections.
It is clear that one of Audrey’s greatest strengths is her ability to connect with people and to know them personally, not only as customers. She listens carefully and understands the individual needs of the people who are buying from her. No wonder she is one of the most well-known and well-liked professionals in the jewelry industry.
Audrey loves her family and enjoys the camaraderie she shares while working with her nephews Roger and Guy. She remains driven to continue the legacy of the Marathon Company.
After a laudatory introduction before receiving her lifetime award at the RJO dinner in Indianapolis on August 14, she humorously commented, “Time out, time out. This introduction sounds like a retirement speech. I am just hitting my stride!”
Marathon Company has been a family business since 1897. In times of economic challenge across the industry, Marathon has remained solid and dependable. You can reach Audrey by calling Marathon at 800-451-1515.
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