Friday, February 6, 2009

Quick Tribute

Over the years I have had the pleasure of having some inspiring bosses in the YMCA.  Most recently I had a great boss in Mike Madden, even if it was short due to numerous reasons.  The departure of Mike made me think it would be nice if I took a quick minute to thank those bosses for what they have taught me.

Mike Madden (2008 YMCA Metro Chicago)

Mike has a presence about him that creates a real sense of calm and confidence.  Mike allowed his team the freedom and authority to come up with the plans for their respective areas of focus.  But then at the same time Mike pushed back and challenged each part to be sure you did your homework, guessing on a hunch wasnt the answer he wanted.  Then Mike's gift was to pull all of that into a bigger vision and plan that would create real impact, plus act as the champion for his team to make it happen.  I learned a lot about how to prepare for a planning session and team dynamics for business decisions.  The other big lesson from Mike was how to be honest and have true integrity.  Mike I wish we had the chance to work together longer.

Ann Edmonds (1999-2002? YMCA of the USA)

While it may be hard to believe you can learn anything from a Canadian... Just kidding, Canada please dont hate me.  Humor at the workplace at the appropriate time was one of the things I learned with Ann, though I'm not sure it was intended.  All humor aside though, Ann showed me what an unstopable force could look like.  Determination and dedication are two words that come to mind.  Ann was able to have some of the most direct and open conversations with leadership that I have ever seen.  Best of all, Ann was a real friend.

Linda Dean (way back in the day, YMCA Metro Chicago)

As a teen growing up in the YMCA, Linda was one of the staff that supervised the teen club I was in.  Then I did my college internship with her in the HR Dept.  She made me the trainer I am today.  Between working with her as a teen and the internship, I learned a lot about how to work with people, how to lead and how to communicate. Years later I still rely on those pieces of wisdom she gave me.

Deb DiPasquale (98-99 YMCA Metro Chicago)

Passion, plain and simple. Deb had a true passion for helping people.  I, on the other hand, tended to hide this passion after years of working in banking.  Deb was able to help me make this shine again.

Jeff Bundy (2002-2007 YUSA)

Try things and let them grow organically.  You dont have to win everyone's attention, get those that are ready and then let them spread the word.  Jeff gave me the freedom to drive and create much of my own work.  During those last years at YUSA, I think I really found what I was called to do for the YMCA.  Too bad YUSA thought it was not important enough to keep, but luckily the YMCA of Metro Chicago does think it is important.  Jeff also helped me prepare for ongoing and never ending transitions.

THANKS to all of these great people!!!!!!!!!!! You have helped make me the mess I am today.

And the ones I missed, like John Usmail, Don McCarthy... And those are just my supervisors, dont get me started on the friends and colleagues that have influenced me.  And dont expect me to get all mushy and continue to have such fluffy posts on my blog.  I usually stuff and hide all of my feelings, just ask my wife.

Take some time and think about those bosses that changed you, who are they, would love to hear about it.

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