5 February 2021

In memoriam: Ann Hirst-Smith

Afera remembers an Industry colleague who worked with AWA and Afera
in a number of communications capacities

Afera colleagues learned this week of the sad passing of fellow Industry colleague and AWA associate Ann Hirst-Smith. She had been in hospital for a short time, where she caught COVID-19 and died through complications of that illness.

A lady proud of her Scottish heritage, Ms. Hirst-Smith was an independent international journalist based in the U.K. and worked often on communications initiatives with AWA and Afera. As the managing partner of Ann Hirst-Smith Associates, she had a broad spectrum of interests focussed on the packaging, labelling, printing and graphics industries. In later years, these grew to include environmental and sustainability issues.

Ms. Hirst-Smith started her journalism career in the late 1960s and then dedicated years of work in the 1970s and 1980s as marketing services manager for Avery Dennison, Fasson U.K., maintaining close relationships across the packaging and labelling industry. In later years, her journalistic and public-relations skills were used by a number of companies and trade associations, all associated with the broader converting sector. Ms. Hirst-Smith travelled widely, covering industry and international trade conferences and exhibitions, reporting on developing trends and innovations for a wide range of journals and trade press. She was also instrumental in establishing and managing a number of public-relations exercises to encourage excellence in products and processes. These included competitions within specific converting segments and the editing of company literature and magazines.

“Ann was one of a kind. She was a fantastic friend, confidant, colleague and industry expert and did so much for me personally, as well as for AWA and its success,” Corey Reardon, president and CEO of AWA Alexander Watson Associates, shared. “She was generous, loving and will be missed immensely, especially her wit, compassion and complaints about the weather.”

“I have had the honour and pleasure of working with Ann on several occasions, most recently on an article for the 50th anniversary edition of AWA Insight at the end of 2020,” commented Evert Smit, president of Afera and director scouting at Lohmann GmbH & Co. KG. “It saddens me that our wonderful co-operation has been so abruptly cut short. I will remember her as a very competent writer, capable of drilling down to the true message to be conveyed, and a pleasant companion in getting the most out of all.”
“I have known Ann since my days of running RadTech Europe, when she came to our conferences as a member of the press,” said Afera Secretary General Astrid Lejeune. “She was fun, witty and warm-hearted. We at Afera want to extend to her family, friends and co-workers our deepest and most sincere condolences on her passing.”