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This morning, I ran into a colleague I worked with two assignments ago. She was in Communications in another country at the time. I was selling to the GLBT B2B market.
My colleague was here for new executive training. I am among the facilitators of that training. As it turns out, she is not in my section, but it was a nice occasion to run into each other.
We caught up about a beloved former colleague who's now a Lenovo director in Europe, and who's still helping all clients and colleagues succeed, including GLBT ones, since he's also openly-gay; my Communications colleague herself is heterosexual, and is a marvelous supporter.
The touching part happened later, as I saw her walk into the auditorium. I was sitting in the back, with the rest of the facilitators. She walked by this time without seeing me. She strode confidently, and I was honored to watch her milestone live. It was the first gathering of this group of 150 new executives from around the world. She had on her game-face, but in parallel looked humbly proud to be part of the group.
Last time we were together, she was supporting than 100 of us at the IBM Global GLBT Leadership Conference in 2003...five years ago already!
Dining Room Surprise
My second, unexpected reunion happened over lunch today. A colleague I hired when I managed Creative Services for ibm.com came over to say hi. He was at the Learning Center for a strategic meeting and I had not seen him since I was his manager in 2001, although we were still in touch electronically from time to time since then.
"This is the colleague I was referring to last night!" I exclaimed to my co-facilitator with whom I was eating. "He got his green card while we were working together." (As his manager, I was honored to be able to sponsor it.) The wife of the co-facilitator had become a U.S. citizen yesterday. "I hope you don't mind that I said so," I said to my ibm.com colleague.
He smiled. "Not at all," he assured me.
And then at dinner, two more ibm.com colleagues and I chatted. I glanced over at the table from where they had come and the colleague, who had said hi at lunch was sitting at it, smiling while watching us talk. He had a tender expression on his face and I traded his expression with mine in kind. I don't know what he was thinking, but he was one of the finest people I hired during the dot-com era, and I'm so glad that he's still with IBM.