Last month a mentor of mine, Annette Moser-Wellman passed away from complications associated with a rare type of tumor that had developed behind her heart.
Anette and I had been introduced a number of years ago, when I was living in NY, running my first software company. At the time, Annette was a visiting fellow at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Business and had asked to interview me for a paper she was authoring on the competencies of news organizations. The first time we connected was over the phone. Sometime later we met for coffee back on Bainbridge Island, where our families live. Graciously, she offered to make herself available for future conversations, to be a resource for me in my own career.
From then on we'd usually meet in person, once or twice a year, always at Bainbridge Bakers, earlier in the morning, right after she was getting out of the gym. I always enjoyed our conversations. We never really talked about business stuff, which was almost always the topic of conversation with my male mentors. With Annette, our conversations were personal: how was I developing, was I being challenged, what really made me happy, what was I actually good at, where did I want to go. Annette asked hard questions, which I rarely had a quick answer to. Even though it could be months between our conversations, she always gave me more than enough to think about.
I will miss Annette a great deal; she was a remarkable, thoughtful woman. Her approach to leadership, business, and life was refreshing and something that I will continue to apply to my own life and in my dealings with others. My thoughts are with her husband and two daughters.
Annette's full obituary, published in the Seattle Times on October 27, 2013 can be found here.