Fifteen years ago, Christian in an act of enormous generosity (that I only recognised as such in retrospect), convinced her boss that it made sense to split her own job up and give me (a refugee from a restructure in another part of a big corporate) a sizeable chunk of it. She then unobviously took me under her wing, and helped give me the self-confidence and skills to be capable of the job she had handed over.
I learned some great lessons from just watching Christian in action. She taught me how to recruit, by taking over the graduate recruitment program for the company when it was not being done by the person who should have done it. I’ve recognised the value of good graduate recruiting ever since. She taught me that you don’t need to pretend to be something you’re not to be effective. She wasn’t interested in pretending to chit chat about the latest sporting results, or letting people get away with sleazy comments (very common in fund managers at the time). She wasn’t aggressive about it – she was her own person.
And she also taught me that the best thing you can do is work yourself out of a job – there is always room in an organisation for someone who manages to make themselves redundant by building a great team.
In one of her blog posts she mentions in passing that disaster recovery in a fund manager comes down to “deciding which people had a very deep and wide knowledge of the business and were also excellent at improvisational management”. Christian would have been the first one to call.
Christian is now in a hospice, in the last stages of metastatic breast cancer. In this post she talks about how important it is to appreciate the small things in life, rather than raging against a fate you cannot control. Something, from reading her blog, she has done superbly.
I hope you do go gently, Christian. I’m thinking of you, and thank you for the difference you have made in my life.