In Leadership we often focus on natural characterstics and behaviors, and how one leverages these strengths to be successful and how they represent one’s leadership style.  An aspect that is often overlooked is the experiences we have had in our life, often dramatic, that shape our views and motivations. Experiences that can be significant failures, negative, or successes and positive experiences.

This morning my wife’s grandmother passed away. She was 97.  A mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, she was a source of admiration and inspiration to many. She touched people’s lives.  She was loving, quiet, giving.  She was an artist, espressing her view of life, beauty and expression in many formats.  Many of her sculptures,  paintings, and quilts adorn our home. We get great joy in sharing them with family, friends and guests.

She will be missed, but not forgotten. Senja was accepting of others, non-judgemental, and taught her great-grand children, great-nephew and local neighbor how to paint, up to when she was 96. She believed art was something everyone could do at any age of their lives.  She drove, cooked, attended classes at the local senior centers at 96.  She quilted the most amazing quilts that for 5 years were our #1 auction item in our annual cancer fundraiser.  She took incredible, quiet pride in this accomplishment, usually beeming at the end of the function.  As a cancer survivor she worked feeverishly to create these wonderful, large quilts that would be a focal point in any household. Even this year, knowing she may not be able to attend, she made sure she would have one to auction with or without her there.

My gift from Senja was how to live a full life, every day. To give, accept and be there when needed.  Thank you, Senja. Thank you for helping me better understand how to live and how to lead.