This is another very special episode to write about…Z, I have been afforded the right to call you Z () you are such an amazingly caring, tough and strong-willed human being. You and I have now been through so many wars together that I consider you as a little sister. We’re the perfect complement to each other, and I am blessed that you were SO PERSISTENT all those years ago to reach out and make sure you were a part of this DSM journey. This is so special because, as you mentioned yesterday, you’re episode 39 of Homage, and you’re soaking in the last few days of your 30s as we speak…with your big 4-0 coming up, I wanted to make sure you knew just what you mean to me, DSM and all those lives in your sphere that you have managed to touch. We love you Z and I personally cannot imagine what life would be like without you and your family. D, Dylan, Ryan…you’re all a part of this immense journey.
The reason why I wanted to do these episodes of you and Char back to back was because there’s so much story to tell. Especially over the last five years, we’ve accomplished so much professionally together. But, BUT…I believe that only speaks to a small part of the story we’ve been able to write. In business, you find people that you work great with and those that you find you need a bit more patience with. The beauty of our relationship is that we’re both Type A personalities…and in that “iron sharpening iron”, we’ve come to not only learn to be more patient…but also more caring and understanding of what it takes to manage lives – both professionally and personally. I say this to anyone that will listen, you could be making way more money at some big job in NYC…but your values align with mine (and Char’s) and we made a conscious decision all those years back to refine a company that was (quite frankly) struggling. We’ve managed to grow together (I hope that I’ve imparted wisdom in the same way you’ve taught me many things)…and in doing so, we’ve been able to create something that affords folks the ability to earn a living, all while being present to their families. This is an amazing feat in today’s world as employers are pushing back on employees to be more present at work again. Balance is balance and I am thankful as a leader, wife and mom…you embrace all of these elements.
Personally (and very similarly to Char), as a wife, mom, sibling, daughter, and aunt…the one characteristic that stands out most to me is your loyalty, love, and passion for those you hold dear. YOU CARE SO MUCH. I like to think of myself as a pretty caring person and you just take it to another level. You’re a total badass as a working mother and the example you set to the other women of DSM is something to be lauded. I don’t know how you do it all between work, cooking, the boy’s sports…you’re amazing in every sense of the word. This episode was very special to do and I would be remiss if I didn’t put it all out there that DSM would not be the company it is today without your guidance and care for those you oversee. In a leadership position, we all know that it’s never about you. If you’re doing a good job, you are putting others first. You are a beacon in this regard in every aspect of your life. Don’t change, it’s your best attribute and I will go to my grave saying this.
Z, to close…this Homage is yours. As you enter your 40s, know that you made such a difference to those in your 30s… I am at the top of that list. I am forever grateful that you put up with my sh*t and know how to navigate a growing business, all while setting a supremely outstanding example for those who’re following in your footsteps. As you enter the next decade, please make sure you keep your sense of care, your humor, your persistence as well as your passion and energy towards others. They serve you well and I am just super grateful you chose us all those years ago. Being that I am already knee-deep in my 40s…, the only advice I can give you is don’t stop moving forward and don’t let anyone tell you “you can’t”. Z, love ya kid! In the words of Ric Flair…WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!