Behind the Packers: Laurie Murphy
The people in Northeast Wisconsin are known for being humble, hardworking and kind. Laurie Murphy appreciates and
personally displays these same characteristics, so she instantly felt at home in Green Bay. As wife to Mark Murphy, president
and CEO of the Green Bay Packers, she’s had a chance to not only meet so many in the community, but also make an impact on lives that need a helping hand.
“Everyone is so nice and down to earth,” says Murphy. “Green Bay is a vibrant community and we’re so happy to be here.”
Laurie and Mark are both from New York — she’s from upstate New York and he’s from Buffalo. The two met while students at Colgate University. She reveals they ended up in the same car on a 24-hour ride to Florida for spring break. Murphy was always a football fan but knew little about the sport.
“I went to all the games, but didn’t know he played football because he wasn’t a quarterback or receiver,” says Murphy. “Now I’m all about the defense!”
FINDING A FIT IN GREEN BAY
They came to Green Bay in 2008. As Mark was learning the ins and outs of the Packers organization, Laurie was looking for a way to get involved.
“When we moved to Green Bay, I wanted to get to know all of the women involved with the Packers, so I started the Ladies of Lambeau, which is a group that includes every woman who works for the Packers, is on the board or is married or a partner of someone who works here or is on the board. It’s an amazing group of women and, truly, what they do for the Packers and for the Green Bay area is incredible,” says Murphy.
Every fall, the Ladies of Lambeau get together to enjoy a meal and complete a group project. Murphy explains the projects have run the gamut, from packing food to send to schools across the globe where children are starving to making quilts and delivering them to local senior centers. In October, the ladies will work on their seventh project — Packers-themed art to hang in the children’s area in hospitals, community centers and organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club.
“It’s so much fun and, in spite of their jobs, families and busy lives, every year so many of these women take the time to show up. They are truly the unsung heroes of the Packers organization and, believe me, Mark and the people in the Packers administration know it,” adds Murphy.
She also has some traditional roles as wife to one of the Packers’ leaders, including working on executive committee projects and planning dinners. Murphy recently had a hand in getting the new art now displayed on the atrium levels within Lambeau.
LIVING HER PERSONAL PASSIONS
Murphy explains she’s always been interested in issues of social justice.
“I believe that every person deserves a safe place to live, food on the table and a good education,” she adds.
Over the years, Murphy has worked to improve these conditions for those she can. When the couple became empty nesters, they chose to be foster parents, helping several teens by providing a home, access to education and compassion. She’s also one of a small group that established JAS House in Green Bay two years ago.
JAS House was named by its residents — Journey to Adult Success. Murphy explains the home is for young adults who aged out of foster care but still need a good housing option. “Most people probably have parents, relatives or friends that could provide a place to live after high school, but for a variety of reasons these kids need a place to begin their adult life — some need to finish high school, some are looking for jobs and many are starting college,” says Murphy.
Residents all work, pay affordable rent and do chores while getting help to achieve their next goal in life. Right now, four people live at JAS House; they have room for seven. Of those that stayed and left the house, all are making progress toward their goals.
“It’s working and it’s very exciting,” she adds.
Murphy is also interested in education on a national and international level.
“Unfortunately, in our country the poorer the neighborhood, the poorer the school and the less likely it is for the children to receive the type of education and access to extracurriculars that can make a child feel good about himself or herself. We’ve been interested in schools in third-world countries, but also in trying to help schools in the U.S. where the population is struggling to make ends meet,” says Murphy.
She has tutored and volunteered at schools like this throughout her life and has also donated in ways that has enabled underserved children to experience what many view as “normal” children experiences — joining the Girl Scouts, playing on a soccer team or taking music lessons. Murphy explains these children have dreams like everyone else, and they do their best to support the dreamers in any way they can.
LIVING IN GREEN BAY
The 61-year-old explains there is no typical day at their home. Mark is busy year-round. During the off-season, he travels a lot for league meetings. Football season is a bit more predictable.
“In a strange way, the season is the most orderly part of the year, because we’re on an NFL schedule,” adds Murphy. During home games, the Murphys have up to 20 guests at their home. They travel to the away games together, leaving home the night before the game.
“I was married to Mark when he was an NFL player for the team from Washington, D.C., and I thought I knew a lot about devoted fans. I was wrong. Green Bay fans are the best fans of any team in America,” says Murphy. “Since we’ve been here, the absolutely most enjoyable thing in the world has been the opportunity to get to know the fans and be able to enjoy the games with them.”
She explains she’s had incredible encounters with fans from all over the world. She’s had the opportunity to give tickets to many that love the green and gold. “Some of our invited guests to games were a waiter from Chicago, a musician who works in a sandwich shop in New York and
a family from Dubai, as well as many Wisconsin fans,” says Murphy.
“There are people all over the world who love the Packers and their first visit to Lambeau is one of their most cherished memories.”
The couple has four grown children, ranging from age 26 to 34, scattered throughout the country.
They have two beautiful grandchildren and two more on the way. Laurie visits them as often as possible. When they have a spare moment
or a break from football, they’ll sneak away to their home in Door County — Mark will often work from there. When asked what the future
holds, Murphy says, “One never knows about the future, but I believe Mark would love to stay with the Packers as long as they’ll have him. It’s truly the best job in professional sports and we are lucky and grateful to be here.” w