Saturday, May 13, 2017

Tribute to My Friend

M was a first generation immigrant, refugee, coming to the United States with her parents and  older siblings in the late 80's as the refugee camps housing Hmong, Cambodian, and Laotians, now without a homeland after the wake of the Vietnam war, were closing. She grew up a mix of traditional Hmong and Minnesota, blended together. She met and married her husband J before the age of 20 and started a family, but still finished a bachelors degree after graduating high school. A decade later, now with two children and a career in finance, she wanted to give back. She changed careers to non-profit work, using her business acumen to help administrators who were social workers and former teachers, not financial people, strengthen their service organizations. She also went back to school and earned her masters degree.

I knew I wanted to hire her within the first five minutes of my interview, and was ecstatic that she accepted the position. Though we both moved on from that company, we stayed close. She had just started a new position six months ago, overseeing a major early childhood program, helping the school district manage huge population and diversity growth. She was going places, and by that I mean, making a difference in the world. I will always be sad at losing this lovely woman, way to early, way to young. A friend of hers from grad school posted on Facebook M's philosophy, work ethic statement, written as she was about to graduate from her masters program. I can't say more about M than she already was saying about herself. Everyone of these statements exemplifies how she worked; how she lived.

Personal Statement of Ethical Leadership

"As I prepare and devote myself to lead and influence others, I endeavor to…

-Be authentic and in tune with myself and others
I will live for honesty, integrity and justice.
I will live to take care of my body, mind and spirit.
I will live to see that I lead with a manner that respects the rights and dignities of others.

-Be inspirational
I will do this by engaging with others in honest and uplifting conversation.
I will tell others they can achieve their passions.
I will tell others they have a made a positive difference. 

-Create an overall positive emotional tone that is characterized by hope
I will exhibit this by projecting a positive attitude.
I will exhibit vocal affirmation of my emotional state in positively defined words.
I will exhibit a hopeful attitude when thinking about the future.

-Be in touch with others and know what’s in their hearts and minds
I will show a desire to see and feel from their point of view.
I will show this by engaging in meaningful and positive conversation.
I will show that I have an open door policy into my heart.

-Demonstrate compassion and kindness
I will demonstrate this by openly sharing in the challenges of others.
I will demonstrate this by remembering the gratitude others have bestowed upon me.
I will demonstrate this by being generous and kind to others, regardless of who or what they have"


  1. She sounds like a wonderful person. How did she die?

  2. I'm so sorry about your friend M. She sounds like an amazing person. How very sad for her to be taken from this world so suddenly with no time to say goodbye. My heart is breaking for you and for those that knew and loved her.

  3. It sounds like she has left an amazing legacy in the world.

  4. What a lovely tribute; thank you for sharing this.

  5. It really hits home when tributes come in for people we have lost as you know I lost my best friend a few years ago aged 44 but it was only at her funeral that I realised what a remarkable person she was. The service was packed out with too many people to seat I never knew she did so much charity work and lived a life doing good stuff a lot of us never knew about. I miss her every day but I'm glad I knew her she makes me a better person every day even though she's no longer physically with me. Your friend sounds a remarkable person too.

  6. A lovely tribute to your friend. My thoughts are with you all. Jx

  7. I'm so sorry about M...what a beautiful tribute to her.

  8. I'm so very sorry that you and all those who love and knew her have had to say good-bye WAY too soon. Life is truly much, much too short. The only positive thing I can say is that by the sound of what you've posted above your beautiful friend has truly shone countless brilliant rays of light into this world and countless lives around her. The world will surely be brighter because of her for a very, very long time to come despite the tremendous loss.


Join the conversation. Your respectful comments are welcome. Spam and advertising products or services without permission will be deleted, as will anything deemed hurtful to others. A change, I moderate comments older than three days to be sure I read them all and stay ahead of the spam. If you're a blogger, feel free to include your blog URL.