When we were kids, heroes had a very specific look. Muscles, a cape, a confident grin.
As we grew up, they took on new forms. They were our parents, teachers, older siblings. The fearless leaders in our daily lives.
As an adult, I believe that heroes can take on infinite forms. Professors, friends, significant others. The Starbucks barista who discreetly – with nothing more than a wink and a smile – upgraded my drink from a Grande to a Venti.
It will not surprise anyone that I seek out heroes in my professional life. Prior to college graduation, I tapped into my university’s vast alumni network. I went out for coffee with friends, friends’ siblings, colleagues of an acquaintance of my aunt and uncle. (I went sort of crazy after college, guys.)
After all that, who knew that one of my most influential heroes would just sort of… find her way into my life?
This is really a magical story. On the first day of my internship at Weber Shandwick, I was introduced to the company mentor program. Each employee is assigned a PC – a Performance Champion. This person acts as a leader, a manager, an advocate. I was incredibly fortunate to be paired up with Molly.
Molly is a super talented digital expert. She is usually goofy, sometimes serious, always intelligent. As a PC, she was my saving grace. I went to her with lots of silly questions (“How do I request vacation time?”) and some pretty scary questions (“I don’t want to leave this company at the end of my internship; how do I get hired?”). As a manager on my accounts, she gave me endless advice and words of wisdom.
I hugged her when I was offered a full-time job, I cried to her when times were hard in my personal life, I emailed her about 500 times each day.
Two weeks ago, in a meeting with Molly, she looked at me with a very serious face and said, “I have news.” I thought that she was, I don’t know, pregnant. The words that she said next were, well, devastating: “I’m moving.”
My initial reaction was panic. Who will take her place? How will I keep learning and growing at this company? HOW WILL I GO ON?
As the news sunk in, though, I formulated a much more rational response. Our company is packed with smart, talented, kind people. In fact, I have a set of ‘heroes’ in place already. I’ll be just fine.
I also realized something important. This news just further proves that Molly is my hero. I admire her risk taking, her ability to hit ‘refresh’ on her life. At 30 years old, of course Molly and her husband are going to pack up their stuff, grab their dog and move to sunny California. It’s time for a new chapter, a new city. It’s time for adventure, for seeking out new opportunities, for taking the road less traveled.
So today, Molly’s last day at our company, I wanted to take a moment to thank her. To make sure that the world knows how wonderful she is, how much she has taught me.
(You’re the best, Molly. THANK YOU.)
Curiosity Hour is an initiative supported by Weber Shandwick in Chicago. Each week, employees are encouraged to take one hour to pursue their creative passions – whether or not they are related to account work. This is an opportunity to learn new skills, to refresh our brains, to think outside the box. This week’s theme was “Heroes.”