Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings? Although it’s a favourite of mine, I have been known to forgo the feast in favour of the south-of-the-border, Columbus Day shopping frenzy that coincides with our Thanksgiving. But this year I stayed home. Perhaps it was the essence of the holiday itself — or just the time of year with all the beautiful fall colours, or maybe it was the evening recently spent babysitting our eight-week old granddaughter — whatever the reason, I found myself in a reflective frame of mind.
Life in downtown Toronto is fast-paced. Perhaps not by New York City standards, but more oil and gas companies are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange than any other exchange in the world. Just stand in the underground walkway beneath the financial district at lunchtime to get a taste of the energy that defines this city. My work is very much a part of this intense and exciting atmosphere. Every day I meet new people. New connections are made, new alliances formed. And although corporate associations last for years — my private consultations are usually one-offs. I work with these clients on a very intense basis for a short period of time and then poof — mission accomplished and time to move on.
Such is the case with Pamelia. I will never forget the day she walked into my office. Tall. Blonde. Great presence, tons of positive energy and a radiant smile. She was about to turn fifty and wanted to update her look. It was obvious from the first few minutes that we were going to work well together. We made a date to meet at her place for a thorough closet run-through.
The big day arrived and before we tackled the tough editing process — there are always more discards than “keepers” — Pamelia showed me her beautifully appointed home. She had high praise for her neighbour, Mel, a deft hand at constructing numerous enhancements throughout the house and explained that since retiring, his accomplished skill-set had worked many small miracles.
Then, it was time to get to work. We started with the bedroom closet and were making great progress when Pamelia opened her armoire. I stopped in my tracks. There, in front of me, on the inside door panels, all Pamelia’s jewellery was beautifully arranged and hanging from a series of hooks mounted on large boards. This was simply the most brilliant jewellery storage system I had ever seen. Courtesy, once again, of gifted Mel. Forget the usual tangle of necklaces and jumble sale of earrings. I nicknamed it “accessories central” and immediately filed away the concept for my own armoire.
But Pamelia was a step ahead of me. While I organized and sorted her clothes into groups, she quietly slipped away. Of course, at the time, I wasn’t really paying attention but about a week later the whole picture became clear. The day of our final official meeting arrived and as Pamelia welcomed me at the front door, her radiant smile was replaced with a mild-wide grin. “For you,” she said, “from Mel,” as she presented two beautiful Tiffany-blue jewellery boards. My very own accessories central!
I knew offering payment was off-limits — Pamelia had told me Mel’s projects were his pleasure — so a few days later I delivered a bottle of bubbly. Their generous gesture still has me smiling. Working with positive people is, indeed,
a blessing; they bring joy and brighten the day. It’s like a gift of sunshine. I’ve thought long and hard about how to share this sentiment with Pamelia and Mel and finally decided. I’ll send them this blog to simply say it was wonderful to meet you … Mes chers amis, merci bien pour tout.
Subscribe to our FREE monthly newsletter
Do you have executive presence? What about your team? Download your free
Executive Presence Scorecard