This is a letter that Schramm Marketing Group managing partner Joe Schramm wrote about COO Rafael Eli.
Dear friend of Schramm Marketing Group,
I am writing to you with sad news.
Schramm partner and COO, Rafael Eli lost his five-week battle with coronavirus pneumonia today. Rafael is my beloved friend and loyal business partner, and, until he was sedated about two weeks ago, we had communicated every day for 30 years.
He contracted the virus in mid-March and, for the past 18 days, has been under the care of the dedicated medical team at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Rafael is known to our business associates as a specialist in the areas of Hispanic marketing, sponsorship sales and the promotion of international soccer. He would often gleefully mention his role in successfully promoting sold-out international soccer events featuring world-class teams at Giants Stadium, MetLife and Citifield.
Rafael is also well-known within the Hispanic television and radio communities and has been the behind-the-scenes co-producer of the annual Hispanic Television Summit, presented for the past 18 years by Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News. He especially enjoyed influencing the choice of the Summit’s award recipients, notably Hispanic TV talent and celebrities with whom he had a personal relationship including talk-show host Cristina Saralegui, sportscaster Andrés Cantor, news anchors Jose Diaz Balart, and Jorge Ramos to name a few.
About 10 years ago, he leveraged these personal relationships with noted on-air radio and TV personalities to successfully conduct a pro-bono Spanish language, mass media campaign to encourage organ donation on behalf of Matchingdonors.com Rafael benefited personally from this campaign when he himself became the recipient of a kidney from a live donor.
Prior to becoming a partner at Schramm, Rafael was employed in content distribution sales for ABC Radio, and earlier in Hispanic marketing for AT&T. While at ABC and at AT&T, he made life-long friends within the staff, at their Hispanic advertising agencies and among many in the Hispanic media industry. AT&T also afforded him an opportunity to play an influential role in helping the company secure its long-running sponsorship of Major League Soccer (MLS). He was especially excited to make a bilingual speech at the soccer league’s “launch” event in New York City.
He has also enjoyed his activities with the New York chapter of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) where he has made many friends. He was honored to have served as a member of its chapter board. He was particularly proud of a special event that he had orchestrated at the New-York Historical Society that partnered an exhibit from Mexico with the Mexican consul to New York and with the support of the AJC.
Rafael also enjoyed lazy summer days on Fire Island, reading, hunting through old books at the Strand Bookstore, international travel, learning foreign languages, talking about history, sharing interesting facts about Judaism and Jewish culture, sharing stories about his childhood in Havana, attending movies, sharing off-color jokes, writing fiction in Spanish, attending Broadway shows, going on spiritual journeys to Brazil, sharing his views of spiritualty and personal development, and photography. The legacy he leaves us are the multitude of photos he has taken.
Perhaps, what Rafael enjoyed the most, was being with others. He loved interesting conversations and getting to know other points of view. He would follow up and stay in communication with many people he met through business, volunteerism, family, or his personal interests. As a result, Rafael Eli is a man with many friends.
In addition to his many friends, Rafael has a sister Myriam Eli, a brother-in-law Joe Zeytoonian of Margate, Florida as well as many relatives in his native Cuba, Florida, New York, Israel and Spain. Rafael is also an “official” member of both sides of my own Schramm-Bruce family.
In closing, Rafael is a loyal and beloved friend who always encouraged us both to treat others with kindness (even when it was easier not to), to conduct business with integrity, to mentor, encourage and be patient with employees and each other (which would have its challenges), and to be enthusiastic about the future. Admittedly, it is difficult for the Schramm Marketing Group family, both current and past, to imagine the future without Rafael. I will especially miss my close ally and I recognize that close friendships like the one I have with Rafael are a rare commodity in life.
I would like to personally acknowledge those of you reading this letter for your recent prayers.
Burial will be in Florida and is unfortunately limited to a small gathering due to the restrictions of the current pandemic. A memorial service for his friends to celebrate his life will be planned for a future date in New York City.
Condolences may be sent to his sister Myriam Eli at 3210 Holiday Springs Blvd. #307, Margate FL 33603 or email at email@example.com and to Joe Schramm at his home 222 Ocean Avenue, Northport, NY 11768 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributions may be made in his name to Matchingdonors.com or to the New York Chapter of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) at email@example.com or 212.891.1443.
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