Celebration of Life
August 31, 2006
As Stephanie and I talked nearly 1 – 10 times a day, we were always looking to develop and create something new. To have the courage to go beyond where we had just been. So here is my attempt to do this for you, Steph:
Life is complex
At times is not fair
Where has she gone?
I will not believe
Life is challenging
Today seems so gleam
You are still apart of us
I do not want to believe
Life is so special
How you made it so
Your inspiration and heart
Where did it go?
I just cannot believe
Life is so short
You would not want us grieve
You are looking upon us to lead
I am beginning to believe
Life is so remarkable
As you touched our soul
Your mind and spirit
Are forever upon us
I am now beginning to believe
Life is grand
She touched us in so many ways
I now know the meaning of life
How you will live through me
I want to believe
Life, as we know it, will forever be changed
You now live through all of us
What a better place this is
We are together forever
I now believe
As some of you know, Stephanie and I met on a plane traveling back to Orange County just over 2 years ago. That is where our journey together began and where my life changed.
We would have talked the entire 5 hour flight, but fortunately, I wanted to watch the movie, 50 First Dates. From that point forward, we spoke almost every day.
When we assess talent organizationally and decide who to bring in, this is a very diligent process. I know, as Stephanie told me, she treated our time together on the plane as an interview, we both did, to see if she would find our company a good fit.
It did not take long for me to realize that she had talent. As we were sitting in the exit row, no one was sitting between us. You know, you wait with anticipation to see if anyone is going to sit right in the middle. Well, it happened. Someone was walking down the aisle eyeing that seat. As she began to stop and turn into our row, Stephanie spoke up and said, “You know, there is a seat about 2 rows back. Could you please sit there?” Of course, the lady looked up by surprise and naturally migrated over to the other seat.
Just think, had she not spoken up, we would not have been able to talk and get to know one another. Talk about destiny.
Our conversation then extended into leadership principles and a philosophical discussion on people. We both agreed that having the right people on our team was critical to our organization’s success and for us to achieve our own goals. We discussed the book “Good to Great” and talked about having the right people on the bus. We debated if a bus was the right mode of transportation. We both felt it was to slow considering how fast we wanted to go. Ultimately, we came up with TRAIN. Talent, Relationships, Accountability, Integrity, and Now – Our ability to execute successfully today.
The TRAIN model has been our leadership model for the past 2 years.
Ultimately, Stephanie was a genuine person who was always willing to take on additional responsibility and challenges. Committing to move from beautiful Southern California, to leave her job at Ingram Micro, leave her friends and family behind, to come to Houston, TX and start virtually a new life, a new career, and develop a new team really showed me her true character. Not many individuals are up for such challenges. She was always looking for the next challenge.
We had even discussed her next position. She was very interested in working in the Far East as well as getting her MBA. She was always looking to improve and develop herself, as well as those around her.
We had the opportunity to work closely together on many projects. From converting the Memorial Hermann Health System, developing the North Haven based Clinical Nurse Champion Program, to hiring great talent such as Andres, Craig, and David, to developing a strong friendship with Melana and David, to truly impacting the lives of several of our customers like Andrew Simon at St. Lukes and Hether Benjamin at MD Anderson. One person touched so many lives in such a short period of time.
We also had a few special moments when we ate Sushi at RA in Houston, played paint ball with her team, and went boating in Austin. The memorable part was when I was trying to shoot one of the opponents and our good friend Trent shot me in open range from the side lines. Retaliation was great as Stephanie also went on the offensive and she and I had a battle royale on the paint ball field. The following day Trent and Stephanie took their teams out on the lake in Austin. What a great way to develop and build friendships with your team. Of course, Stephanie had to push me into the water from the second deck of the boat. Well, there is slightly more to the story, my natural reaction was to grab onto the boat so I did not fall. Unfortunately, I did not grab the railing, but grabbed her swimsuit top. All I heard was a big rip as I descended into the water. Funny thing was, I looked back and saw Stephanie running down stairs to get a shirt.
Many good times, many good debates, many good memories.
How can we fill this void? I know she is looking down and telling us to move on. Let’s go, make it happen, what are you waiting for. She was about removing obstacles and redefining the purpose of how to get things down. We communicated and shared our thoughts, she made us better. She has set new standards of excellence and leadership and we will benchmark ourselves on what she accomplished. She showed all of us new ways to think, approach complex problems, and kindle long lasting relationships.
The conversations she had with her team, the direct dialog, the motivation she provided, she impacted so many. The messages from everyone who knew Stephanie and came into contact with her have been so inspirational. There is truly an out pouring of love and respect for her.
I know she would want me to thank Melana and David for everything they did to support her over the past 2 years and especially during these past three months. She made several comments to me about how appreciative she was for the support her team provided her during this difficult time.
Stephanie, you are our champion! We will live in your memory. We will sustain your legacy. We will make you proud. We have this to accomplish for you.
Our job has just started. Be strong and proud that she is apart of our lives.
Live life, Live strong, Live with the zeal and passion of our dear friend.
As she told many people who did favors for her, Stephanie, you ROCK!
Steph, you remember that mug Joe and I got for you that said, “It’s all about me”; well today, Steph, it is all about you!
In loving memory –