Friday, December 6, 2013

The Loss of a Legend

Tonight, I have a very heavy heart.  Last Thursday, our community- both local and industry- lost an amazing leader.  Tomorrow, I have to go to her viewing.  And my heart is broken.

How does one begin to memorialize a person like Vanetta Griggs Wilson?  How do you even know where to start?  I suppose at the beginning.

When I was first hired at Chesbro Music almost 9 years ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with the company's CEO, Vanetta.  Now, I was terrified.  Seriously.  She's the CEO.  I'm just a little retail salesperson who likes to play the piano.  I'm nobody.  But not to her.  She explained to me that all of us at Chesbro were family.  We supported each other, we took care of one another.  She asked me about my career plans with the company...and then completely supported them.  Not only did she support them, but she gave me tools, ideas and suggestions on how to achieve them.  She reminded me that I was welcome in her office at any time and that she would always be there if I needed anything.

My next experience with her was my first NAMM show.  The NAMM show is the biggest trade show in the music industry.  It's huge.  It's overwhelming.  And I was terrified.  Vanetta gently reminded me of my talents and told me that she had faith in me and that I would represent her company well.  She stood beside me and taught me how to navigate the industry.  She showed me how to do business in a ladylike, gracious and effective way.  She showed me how I needed to treat each and every customer.  She told me that regardless of how big or how small a customer's business was that every one of them was important and should be treated as if they were my first priority.  She showed me how to deal with publishers and to be gracious, but to get them to do what I needed them to do for our company. Vanetta and I traveled together a couple of times and roomed together a couple of times.  She was such a thoughtful and kind woman.

Vanetta was a confidant.  She understood my trials.  She had them too.  She understood my need to be successful at something.  She understood when I needed to leave quickly to support my family.  She understood that I only got frustrated when our customers weren't treated fairly.  She was empathetic to my personal struggles and often offered advice, solutions and a listening ear.

There are so many things that I could say about her.  So many.  But above all, she was kind.  She exemplified the Savior in every aspect of her life, but it was evident most of all in her treatment of others.  Never an unkind word.  Never a moment wasted.  Never a smile not given.

While the world is mourning Paul Walker and Nelson Mandela, I am mourning someone who had a much more profound impact.  The world has lost an amazing, kind, gracious woman and we are worse for it.  The best we can do is to follow her example and be better people.  I will do my best to do better, smarter, more gracious, relationship centered business and to be a leader, a mentor and a friend in her honor.

Thank you, Vanetta.

Vanetta's Life Legacy and Service Information

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