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Being present in someone’s life despite geographical distance is as easy as you mentally make it.
Let me introduce you to Brian Reid. (@number1brian)
In the winter of 1997, Denise and I made the decision to move to Ottawa, Ontario. Our car was packed by June as we headed East from Vancouver so I could pursue additional higher education in my quest to tackle (and combine) the tenets of learning, technology and leadership. Denise, in turn, found employment at the Ottawa-Carlton Separate School Board as a high school teacher.
The one-year intensive program I enrolled in was entitled the Information Technology Professional (ITP) program offered in a pan-Canadian partnership with the Software Human Resource Council, now a part of the Information and Communications Technology Council. Over the course of the 12 months, students in a cohort of 30 would immerse themselves in the running of a fictitious business. In addition to the experiential learning aspect of the business simulation, students were pelted with a torrential downpour of technology, leadership and professional development formal education.
I met Brian on the first day of the ITP program in August of 1997. His role in the program was ‘facilitator’, which was a horrendously undervalued title. He was more than a facilitator; he was the chief motivator, coach, business educator, counsellor and mentor.
If there was no Brian, you’d very likely have seen a large contingent of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree holding adults withering away to shadows of their former selves.
But that’s not why you need a Brian Reid in your life.
Once the program completed, Denise and I hastily retreated back to the serenity that is a West Coast lifestyle in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since 1998 I’ve only seen Brian (and his lovely wife Luise) once in person, face-to-face.
But what has transpired since 1998 is a deep contributing relationship where Brian does the following:
- Singing birthday voicemails or quick live phone calls to not only me, but our three goats on our birthdays
- Retweets on Twitter or additional discussion tweets regarding something I’ve written
- Likes and comments on my Facebook activities
- Comments on this blog
- Comments on my daughter Claire’s blog
- Accepted requests for telephone chats where I can bounce ideas off of him
I’ve never asked him why he continues to be so kind to me and my family with his feedback, ideas, contribution and, well … love.
He has asked for nothing in return.
I reckon he’s somewhere between 60 and 65 years in age, enjoying retirement and grand-kids.
But, as I continue to write, research and think about our evolving society and workplace, particularly as it relates to becoming more collaborative and a desire to see more interlocutors out there … I had to share with you the story about Brian.
I think the world of him.
Equally important … ask yourself if you have a Brian Reid in your life.
More important? Are you a Brian Reid to anyone?
Thank you Brian. I had to share this story in hopes that others use it as a source of inspiration.
Enjoy those grand-kids of yours.