From the desk of Mary J Lynch

Many years ago on the 28th of November, a woman wanted to clean the salt off of her car and went to a drive thru car wash.  She got out of the car to put money in the machine but It was slippery and she fell down on the ice.  Ordinarily not a good thing, but when the woman is 9 months pregnant, then there is more cause for concern.  Later that night she went into labor and delivered a baby at 2:57am on November 29th.

The woman in that story was my Mom.  She was pretty feisty and independent.  As a middle child, she was also a natural peacemaker in her family.  She worked at the same company for her whole career and worked her way up from being a secretary to a senior manager running major promotional campaigns for a large global company.   She broke through barriers on a regular basis as the only woman in a staff of all men.   One day she was questioned about why she was wearing a pantsuit instead of a skirt.  Her feistiness came in handy here and let’s just say those conversations didn’t happen again.   She was paving the way for women to succeed and setting an example for her daughters and women in her organization.

I remember going to work with her and spending the day on “take your daughter to work day” to see what her job was like.  This came at a time before the internet existed and kids would go see what their parents did as a possible career option.  She was my role model and the major reason that I went into business as a career.  Everyone used to call me her “clone” so it was only fitting that although we were in different states, we ended up working for the same company.   She was getting ready to retire and I was just getting started.

She taught me quite a few lessons along the way, many of which are still true for me today.  Always wear red when you have to go into a tough meeting and you need to feel powerful.   Be willing to stand up for what you believe in and have integrity.  Build relationships with people (no matter who they are) and find something in common with them.   Be honest when you give feedback to your direct reports and use common sense when you are making decisions.  Be independent and don’t give your financial decision making away to anyone else.  Be kind, thoughtful and generous to those around you.   Look for the humor in tough situations and laugh a lot.

To those who knew her, they said she was the best.   I am so grateful that she was there for me as my first business mentor but I was extremely lucky to have her as my Mom.   Since today is my birthday, I thought I would share a few of the lessons that she gave to me in case they could be helpful to you as well.   As the old saying goes….another year older and another year wiser.

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