WHO WE ARE
Meet our Memory Makers, the people behind PTT Tributes who help craft your experience:
Growing up on Long Island, NY is where JM Smith developed much of who he is and what he stands for today. Having lost a brother and father by the age of 12 he started to form an appreciation for life, an understanding that time is valuable and realizing tomorrow is never guaranteed. JM spent his formative years playing team sports and developing relationships while attending high school and then The State University of New York on Long Island. 1995 provided a career opportunity outside of New York. JM chose to relocate to Central Pennsylvania. In part because it was close enough to family but also as a tribute to his father who’s last memory of his was watching a Blue Angels Airshow in Reading Pa.
JM spent the next 20 years in various corporate leadership roles developing and mentoring future leaders. In 2006, JM was blessed to become a father which he discovered was his true calling. A father of a daughter and son, it was his children that would be the inspiration for a life changing decision and in 2018 JM set out on his Point The Thumb Journey. In both his professional and personal life JM preached a mantra of “point the thumb, not the finger”. Realizing some of life’s pressures and challenges had changed him and jaded his outlook on people he quickly became aware he was not portraying the kind of person he should be as a father and role model. In pointing the thumb, he realized he needed to do something to change this for both his children and him. Leaving York, Pa in July of 2018 with only six dollars in his pocket JM proceeded to walk across the country observing the goodwill and behavior of complete strangers. Although there were the expected trials and tribulations associated with such an endeavor the positives far outshone any negatives. Along the way JM met many people and developed deep and lasting friendships. He was able to return to his family four months later and be able to offer firsthand how truly wonderful people can be and what a gift life is. It was on this walk that the foundation for PTTTributes was developed. He continues to speak with schools, businesses, and churches to share his very personal message.
DEBORAH A. BRAJEVICH
Deborah’s initial success as an athlete (a two sport All-American in basketball and softball) and the first female player in St. John’s University history to be drafted by the professional Women’s Basketball League (WBL) in the 2nd round by the Dallas Diamonds, was followed by success in sports coaching and administration, event management, technology, law enforcement, education, and non-profit management. Her can-do team first attitude, strong work ethic, ability to learn extremely fast, and agile mind have given her a tool set and mind set to succeed. Deborah spent a rewarding twelve years at the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation as the director of information technology and facilities manager. Her career change into education, finishing a challenging three-year teaching certification and MAT program in 18 months led to her teaching middle school mathematics prior to joining PTTTributes.
“All my life whatever my pursuit it has always been in a vocation that helps others and made a difference. Life is not about what you do to make a living it is about how many lives you have impacted in a positive way while you earn your living.”