My Lucky Thirteen

July 30, 2010

Thirteen years. That’s how long I’ve been a “grown-up” member of the workforce. I graduated from college summer of 1997 and started working full time shorty after. I was considering that fact recently and it sort of popped into my head how lucky I have been to have worked for some pretty outstanding people. Specifically, I was thinking about a very nice thank you note I had in my inbox the past Monday morning. It was from my current manager, thanking me for some work I’d recently completed. It was a sincere thank you note, and for many of us, a simple “atta boy”, timed just right, can be (almost) as good as cash money.

That was the impetus; however, I still debated writing this at all. I didn’t want it to come across like I was writing the story for selfish reasons. So, my wife and I discussed it, and we agreed I should set some ground rules. In order to show up on this list, the following criteria must be met:

(1) I worked for you directly.
(2) I worked for you for at least one full year.
(3) I do not work for you currently.

Not too many rules but enough so I feel comfortable naming names! In order of chronology:

Paul Ellis – I worked for Paul at Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee. He was my sales manager and taught me all I know that is worth knowing about sales. From being honest and straight forward, to never being afraid to ask (however creatively) for the sale. I learned my lessons well. While I may no longer be in sales in the classic sense, I still use those same techniques when selling myself, and my ideas.

Jackie Joo – I worked for Jackie at Lennox Industries (formerly Service Experts) in Brentwood, Tennessee and Richardson, Texas. Jackie taught me how to teach. She stuck with me and I will always be grateful for her patience and vision; in seeing in me an innate talent, and helping me become a better communicator and instructor.

Eric Andrews – I worked for Eric at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers in Culver City, California. He was the first person to give me the advice to learn and teach project management. That advice changed my life and altered my career path forever. I met and taught folks that would become a part of both my personal and business network; people that would champion me and guide me in directions I hadn’t previously considered possible.

Patty Coryell – I worked for Patty at Countrywide Financial in Agoura Hills, California. She was my great encourager. She always seemed to know just the right thing to say, and provided just the right amount of direction while always allowing me to be a “manager of one”. She taught me to to listen, observe, and then to do what a manager would do; set the tone, determine what needs to get done, and do it.

Marc Braunstein – I worked for Marc at Countrywide Financial in Chandler, Arizona. He was my first manager as a manager myself (that met the criteria). I have never, and I mean never, had a manager that worked harder at getting to know me, and my management style. I realize now how lucky I was to have had the opportunity to work with him, as the more he learned about me, and my communication style, the more he helped me improve; both as a manager, and as a communicator.

I hope this story comes across as sincere. I hope at some point each of these important people, these mentors of mine, somehow venture upon this story and know how much I appreciate each and every one of them. Thank you.

Happy Friday!

2 Responses to “My Lucky Thirteen”

  1. Bryan Babbitt said

    Out of all your managers Owen, I only know Marc, and I have to agree with you, he is a great guy and does try to get to know you personally and your work style. I enjoyed reporting to him. However, I also have to say, when I directly reported to you, you too took the time to get to know me as a person and my work style. You gave me the freedom to work on my own and was always there to help me succeed on the opportunities that were presented to me. The challenge was always welcomed.

    So sir, even though I 10,000 miles away, a big thanks to you for helping me succeed and advance my career in an area that I never thought I would be in.

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