Today was my last day at Cone, the agency I founded 29 years and 9 months ago. So many memories, friends, clients, programs created with such lasting impact on program receipients, company employees, social issues. But most of all it seems I nurtured many, many professionals who just blossomed before my very eyes.
The comments I got from close friends, former and current employees, clients and even folks I didnt know well, touched me deeply. Often it is hard to comprehend the impacts of decades of work, but the personal messages meant so much to me.
Anne Erhard, a vice-president at Cone sent me the most wonderful email. So I asked if I could share it, as it speaks so well to the subject of purpose work:
..... "here is just a few of the things I have learned from you that I am thankful for. There is more for sure, and I know there will be more to come!
Massively consume media!
My first meeting with you, you drilled into my head that I needed to keep reading at least 3 newspapers+++. I wish I could say I find the time every day to consume as much media as I want, but I do know that when I do, I am smarter, better prepared, quicker on my feet, and much more creative. Thank you.
Fearlessness and fun in presenting!
The first time I really formally presented to a client was an entire leadership team including board members at AHA. I was soooo nervous. At breakfast, we were making small talk while I am rehearsing in my head, trying desperately to stop shaking. This is when you say, “this is a really important group…you are ready right? Did you prepare? You’re not nervous are you?” I thought OMG, not only do I need to impress them but I need to do it in front of Carol Cone! I think I did a decent job that day; and following that day, I studied your presentation skills – not to replicate them, but to see how comfortable you were in your own skin and how you made each presentation your own – I always say, you are like an actress up there! I will never live up to your incredible theatrics – but I do try to instill fun, smiles, examples/stories, and going beyond the slides. Thank you.
Passion is contagious!
You have loved what you do, every single day. And when you talk about our work, everyone around you knows how important it is, how smart it is, and how much they want to be a part of it. I have tried to instill even a little bit of that passion in the work that I do with my teams, with my clients, and in my speaking. You have showed me that if you are passionate, they are much more likely to be on your side. Thank you.
Confidence is king!
Once when Kristian couldn’t make a meeting, I apologized for it and said that I was glad to be there – you told me after, never to do that. Just assume the shoes of the strategy lead and if I deliver no one would be any the wiser. I took that to heart and never did it again. I always try to fill the bigger shoes when they are laid in front of me. Thank you.
And lastly, I have to thank you for saving me from doing PR for money managers. If I were still calling the trades to pitch an institutional mutual fund, not only would I be miserable, but I would simply not be the same person that I am today. Thank you for letting me to do smart, relevant, impactful work every day since.
Please keep teaching me! "
Anne -- I will continue to teach you and others. Of course, no longer at Cone. But my new position, to be announced soon, will allow me to continue my purposeful journey, with new colleagues, new clients, lots of resources and on a global stage. And of course, you and I will continue to learn through our book, Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding, that will be published this fall by John Wiley and Sons.
Thank you to all who strive to make their work purposeful. Best -- C