Friday, January 22, 2010

What Judy Taught Me

Last Sunday I got the news that my friend and mentor passed away. Judy will be missed by a lot of people for a lot of different reasons, but here are the five reasons I'll miss her most.

1. Judy led by example. Judy was a living legend. By the time I started at the company she had already been there for 30 years, served on the board of directors, and founded their women in leadership group. She had a reputation for being tough, difficult even. And the first time we met in the bathroom she told me I looked like I was in between classes at college. I was silly enough to take it as a compliment at the time.

It wasn't.

But when we started working together it was magic. Judy knew how to bring out the best in people because she led by example. I learned more from watching her sell one client than I had in my five previous years with the company.

2. Judy taught me that appearance counts. And not just physical appearance, but the way you market yourself to the world. Every e-mail, every menial task, every tedious meeting was an opportunity to demonstrate my value and kick some corporate ass.

3. Judy showed me the importance of being passionate. Judy never did anything half ass. If she was professionally or personally invested in something she was ALL over it. Her enthusiasm was contagious and that's probably why she made such an amazing leader. Judy taught me that when you are passionate you invoke passion in others.

4. Judy helped me find my voice. I didn't even know what voice was back then, but when I sent her my first draft of a newsletter for our team she sent it back and said, "Boring! Where is your signature Lisa style?" Judy had picked up on my voice from more casual communications and she taught me how to channel it and use it in everything that I write. Priceless.

5. Judy was the life of the party. I'll never forget being at some horrible corporate function and feeling someone sneak up behind me and whisper in my ear, "Your breasts look fantastic!" It was Judy, of course. One of her most memorable antics was taking clients to a Madonna concert wearing a hot pink satin bra on top of her conservative button down. Judy was always the life of the party and as a result people gravitated to her.

I always thought Judy was grooming me for a career in corporate America. I naturally assumed that she wanted me to follow in her distinguished footsteps. But looking back at everything I learned from her over the years, I think she was secretly teaching me how to be a writer.

54 comments:

Kimberly Franklin said...

She sounded like a wonderful woman. So sorry for your loss.

Hardygirl said...

How wonderful to have her in your life--and how wonderful that you appreciated her. So many people would have taken the first comment (about you looking like being between classes) and written her off as a b*tch.

So sorry you lost her. But, whoa, weren't you lucky to have had her in your life!!

sf

Sara Tribble said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

It sounds like you take a lot from what she taught you and in turn that's how we remember people we love day after day when they're gone.

*Hugs*

Nisa said...

Those kind of people who touch you, teach you and change you for the better are amazing. What a great tribute to her.

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Judy sounds like one amazing person! Sorry for your loss.

storyqueen said...

This is such a special tribute.

Sorry for your loss.

Lisa Marie said...

What a lovely post. I am very sorry the loss of this wonderful person.

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

Wow she sounds totally awesome and kick ass, I love the things she taught you and showed you. But Im sorry to hear she passed.

Melissa said...

I am terribly sorry for your loss. It seems like she's left you with quite the legacy though, and that's got to count for something...many hugs :)

Megan Petty said...

So sorry for your loss. It sounds as though she was an amazing woman.

Heidi Willis said...

This almost made me cry.

Great leaders and great people prepare you to be the best YOU... wherever your dreams take you. It sounds like that is exactly what she did.

What a wonderful tribute to her!

Loretta Nyhan said...

This is an incredible tribute, Lisa.

What an amazing woman...

Stephanie Thornton said...

She sounds like an amazing woman. I wish she was still around to teach #3 to more people. Passion creates a zest for life that makes each day worth living.

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

What an exceptional woman and friend! You have honored her well today. Wonderful tribute.

I especially like the idea that your own passion ignites it in others. And helping you find your 'voice." That's amazing. She had some priceless advice.

So sorry for your loss and grief. I'm sure she is smiling at this post and is very proud of you!

Carolyn V. said...

That is a wonderful tribute. I'm so sorry to hear about her passing. But glad to hear all you learned from her. =)

JennyMac said...

She sounds like an incredible mentor and leader.

Tara said...

Ahh, Lisa, so sorry to hear about her passing. What an incredible and unique woman.

Laura Pauling said...

Very touching and a wonderful way to honor her memory!

Elana Johnson said...

Wow, she sounds amazing. And don't take this the wrong way, because you know I love you to bits and pieces, but maybe she was teaching you how to be a grown up. How to be yourself. And how to work hard for something.

And yeah, that's what a writer is (maybe not being grown up - ha!), but it's a recipe for success in life. Like no matter what you chose to do, you'd be able to do it. You know?

Mariah Irvin said...

*hugs*

Christina Lee said...

Yeah, I second what Elana said so eloquently. What a moving tribute to her this is! *hugs" across the internet!!

Karen said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. It sounds like she was an amazing woman.

Simon C. Larter said...

That's just lovely. No funny today, just appreciation. Well said, good lady.

Solvang Sherrie said...

What an amazing mentor she sounds like. I love kick ass women like that! You were lucky to have someone like that in your life. This post is a great tribute to your memory of her.

Dara said...

What a great tribute to your mentor. It sounds like she was the kind of woman to touch everyone's lives in some way. You never forget people like that.

Sorry for your loss.

Kim said...

She sounds like a very special lady indeed! I bet she read that and did a great big arm pump knowing that she made a difference in your life.

Such a beautiful tribute. I'm sorry for your loss.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I love this...what a beautiful memorial. I think we could all use a Judy in our lives. Thank you for sharing her with us.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

She sounds like a wonderful woman. I can see why you'll miss her. Now you must continue her example for others - which I know you already do.

Shelli said...

that sux - so sorry! :( hugs!

Cheree said...

She sounds like a wonderful woman, and this is a fantastic tribute for her. Sorry for your loss.

Rebecca Knight said...

The two stories under #5 make me think that I would have LOVED Judy :). I'm so glad you had someone like that to not only look up to and learn from, but befriend.

Thank you for sharing your memories of her with us!

Marsha Sigman said...

That was the most honest and beautiful tribute I think I have read.

I miss her and I never knew her.

Jackee said...

So sorry for your loss, but what a great tribute to her!

Jules said...

I'm sorry to hear about your loss. She sounds like she was a wonderful person!

ChristaCarol said...

You where all blessed to have each others. Thoughts & prayers with you guys. *big hugs*

sunna said...

Beautiful eulogy. She sounds lie an amazing woman, and I'm glad she was a part of your life.

Peace to her spirit.

Gail said...

It's so hard when someone meaningful in your life passes away. It sounds like you learned the lessons she was meant to teach you.
Good wishes coming your way!

Jemi Fraser said...

Lovely, lovely tribute. Judy sounds wonderful - she will be missed. You have my thoughts and my sympathies. Take care.

jessjordan said...

Lovely (albeit sad) post. We all could use a Judy in our lives.

Sharon Mayhew said...

So sorry for your loss. It is so important that you remember the impack she had on your life, so you can do the same thing for someone else in the future.

Erica said...

That was a beautiful tribute to her. She sounded like a remarkable woman.

I'm very sorry for your loss, but glad you learned so much from her. She will live on through the people she touched...

Little Ms J said...

We all need a woman in our life to show us the ropes, hold us accountable and teach us a thing or two. Judy sounds like she was a peach. I'm sorry for your loss. May she live on in your memories.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Your portrait of Judy is wonderful. I think her attention to detail and showing you how to make a good impression to the world really stands out. It reminded me of a story Ricky Nelson's daughter told about her grandmother, Harriet. She said her best advice was never to go to bed with makeup on. At first I thought that sounded shallow until I considered what it meant--that you care enough about yourself to never be indifferent. It's a valuable lesson.

Katie said...

wow - what an amazing eulogy. I wish I had known Judy too now.

Natalie said...

Judy sounds like a person I would have liked to know.

lexcade said...

she sounds awesome. and i think you've shared with us a lot of what she taught you.

my thoughts and prayers are with you, sweetie :)

Kristy said...

She sounds like a great lady, I'm sorry she's gone.

Sarah said...

What a wonderful tribute. I'm sorry for your loss. She sounds like an amazing woman.

K. M. Walton said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing all you did with us - I enjoyed reading every word about her - even though I never met her.

Kristin said...

I'm so sorry. She sounded like a great friend.

lbdiamond said...

You have my condolences. I'm glad you have such happy memories of your time with Judy.

Angela said...

Sorry for your loss. There was a woman I knew, Ginidee. She was such an amazing writer and critique partner and such a rich person in general. I wish I'd had the opportunity to meet her in person, and tell her how much her mentorship meant to me before she passed on.

I'm glad you posted, because it was a nice reminder of the amazing woman who I knew so briefly.

Cinda said...

Judy lives on with this post. I love her wisdom and joie! Thank you for sharing her!

Kelly H-Y said...

She sounds like a wonderful woman. I'm so sorry for your loss. Sounds like she made a huge impression on you ... what an amazing friend and mentor to have.