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I was fortunate to be at the Omnicom University last month in Boston. It was my fourth time there and like every-time it has left me with some thought provoking lessons that will go a long way in my personal and professional life.
I always transcript my key learnings in simple one liners and keep referring to them often. I will share some with you today but before I do that I am going to share the most important learning that I saw and observed during this visit.
On the inaugural day of our program we were welcomed by Janet Riccio, the Dean of Omnicom University. I don’t know her very well but have met her in my earlier visits. I was surprised to see that she arrived in the class in a small scooter and looked very frail. I learnt was that last year she was detected with ALS and has been fighting her battle. She made fun about it while delivering her inaugural address and took her seat in the back of the class. She was there everyday, filling the class with her sunshine like energy and in-fact closed the class with an inspiring note. The class gave her a standing ovation thanked her for what she was doing for the Omnicom University.
One week after I returned we got the news that she passed away. It was a news which was difficult for lot of us to believe as it was only a week ago that she was driving around at Babson on her bright yellow scooter – holding court in the courtyard and in the classroom – engaged, vibrant, funny and charismatic as ever.
I have always been amazed at the zeal in people to make anything possible but this is the closest example in recent times. In spite of her diagnosis last year, she kept her sense of humour, her passion for life and her endless support to the Omnicom University.
Her light, her kindness, her wisdom, wit and grace, will stay with us always.
As a tribute to her I would like to leave you all with some key takeaways of mine from the Omnicom University this year. Hope we are able to imbibe some of them and honour her memory.