Shifting Seats

Moving to a new job doesn’t mean the end of old relationships. Your circle has just expanded!

A couple years ago, I was upset that some families we were close to had left our church. A wise elder said it was OK, sometimes people just need to switch seats. They continue to be part of the larger “church.”   That same wisdom applies to relationships established in the work world, I guess. In the past 18 months I’ve shifted seats a couple of times — once when I didn’t really want to — and now my circle has expanded.  I get to know and appreciate a new crowd even as I strive to maintain ties with those I called “friend” at my workplace.

Yesterday I was asked to write up some memories of one person I worked with, Cindy, who is celebrating five years at Amway Corp.  Here’s what I sent to her current manager:

I met Cindy when we both served on the WMPRSA board in the early 2000s. She impressed me as smart, competent and accountable. She got things done. Plus she was nice. A few years later, when we had an opening for a new editor at Quixtar, Cindy applied and I was thrilled to be able to bring her on staff.  Very quickly she became one of the superstars in Communications…she made every team she joined better, not just because of what she contributed, but because of the impact she had on others. Her team members became better because she helped them focus and because she was such a great example.

Later, organizational shifts changed reporting relationships and the editorial team reported to a creative director while I managed external communications, including PR, advertising, digital marketing, and sponsorships. Again Cindy applied for an opening on my staff, this time managing all things digital, and again I didn’t have to think twice about welcoming her aboard. She moved into the new role and immediately whipped Amway U.S. social media and digital outreach programs into shape, working with outside agencies and internal partners. 

I am glad Cindy and so many others I managed continue to contribute their strong talents to the ongoing global success of Amway. I often feel like my biggest achievement during an 18-year Amway career was the great people I brought into the company. And among the greatest of those is Cindy. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s been only five years for her given all that she’s already accomplished within Amway (not to mention having two kids in that same period of time!). 

…I can’t begin to single out a “favorite memory” with Cindy or with any of the great people I worked with at Amway. I enjoyed my staff and many of my peers throughout my years at Amway and loved nearly every minute of being with the company. At least, I think I did. I guess it must have been pretty good if my “afterglow” memories are so favorable!

At Davenport, I have the pleasure of managing Rick (who has considered Cindy a mentor in the past) and Sasha.  We had a late afternoon meeting yesterday to talk about what we’ve already accomplished since I joined the university in September as well as the opportunities that still lie ahead for us.  Thinking about the staffs I’ve worked with in the past and the one I work with today made me realize that all of us are always shifting seats somewhat, but that doesn’t mean we have to change who we are and what we bring to the table.  And it doesn’t mean we have to lose our old connections, either. Social media helps us stay in touch. So do industry gatherings, community events, and good old-fashioned “let’s do lunches.”

Although my new life is very full, schedule-wise, I need to make time to stay in touch with those  I used to (and still) call “friend” at Amway Corp. I saw some of them at a WMPRSA meeting this past week and at holiday gatherings last month. I do have the occasional lunch with these friends.  I hope to see more of them all in the weeks and months ahead!