Several of my posts this past year have referred to “…in my 50th year.” Yep, turning 50 has been filled with new opportunities, new friendships, a new home and even a new puppy. But this past week has involved doing one of the more difficult things I have done at 50. I had to say goodbye to one of my favorite community girlfriends who had also recently celebrated hitting a half-century.
I met Shannon over a glass of wine 3 years ago upon the start of her new position in Business Development at a local business just down the sidewalk from my office. She was beautiful, vivacious, innovative, friendly and had the most stunning smile. But her life had also had its challenges. She was a single Mom of three great teens, of whom she talked about all the time with great pride, and was excited for the new adventures and relationships her new position would potentially bring. It didn’t take me even 5 minutes to know that we would be fast friends and that her successes in her new role would be monumental.
Shannon was brilliantly successful in her new role. She was a natural, people loved being around her and when she met the man she was meant to spend the rest of her life with, her smile only broadened.
Last week, her life and the life of her fiancée was cut short in a tragic accident. Yesterday, hundreds gathered to say goodbye, including her 3 young adult children.
The pictures of a life well lived, filled with celebrations and so much love.
The words read from so many that truly exemplified the Shannon we all had experienced, whether it was for 30 years, 3 years or even 3 months.
The tears flowing throughout the spacious church for a dear daughter, mother, aunt, friend and business associate.
What was it about Shannon that made her so special? Every soul that gathered for her had, at some point, been made to feel special by Shannon. That’s what she did. She made people feel special.
Isn’t that the foundation of any sort of business development? Her LinkedIn profile includes her title as VP of Business Development. But for Shannon, that was not a job…that is how she lived her life.
What is business development, really? Well, if you knew Shannon, she exemplified business development. In true Shannon-style, here is what I think business development is at its finest:
- Make everyone you encounter feel really special
- Build friendships and the business will follow
- Ask about THEM, their lives, their families
- Laugh with them, cry with them
- Share yourself, the authentic truth of you, with them
- Do YOU all the time
- A smile goes a long way, so lead with it
- Love truly and heartily, holding nothing back
If you knew Shannon, you know that I just described her very being…and that just skims the surface.
Yes, friends, Heaven just gained a new Business Development angel and she is one of the best. You see, Shannon’s life, albeit short, exemplified not only how to do business well, but also how to live a life as it was intended.
And even in her angelic state, she showed us all on earth how to gain our own seat in Heaven. Yes, our girl is still doing business development in her finest role.
In her memory, I respectfully share just a bit of the memorial made to her yesterday: “She is gone. She was the center, the anchor, and the reminder of what is love. We will all find our new centers, always guided by the path not of which she spoke, but which she lived.”
Note from the SHE Files: Business Development is not a job; it’s a way of life. Live, love and smile…a LOT.