Life is complicated. Things don’t always go the way we expect, much less the way we want. Yet, it is often adversity that brings out our best leadership qualities.
For Steve, that moment came in early October when his wife Ann had a serious accident resulting in a brain injury. As she drifted into unconsciousness while waiting in the emergency room, he created a sense of urgency and got the doctors focused on her needs. When her brain swelled and hemorrhaged, he was her advocate for getting the necessary care and procedures.
As emotions ran high and minutes counted, he retained presence of mind, asked good questions and made key decisions. He mobilized his network of contacts to determine the best options for care. He led the charge in the mission to do everything humanly possible to help Ann.
Over the following weeks, he showed up every day, making the 2-3 hour round trip to the neural intensive care unit and subsequently the rehab facility. He expressed appreciation for the care provided by the medical team, and helped them see Ann as a person not just another patient. He rallied their three children and kept the household running, preserving as much normal daily routine as possible and accepting help from friends and family.
At every step, he has shown love, compassion, patience and perseverance. He has communicated in a way that creates a virtuous circle, connecting people across thousands of miles who care about Ann and her family through a Caring Bridge site.
Steve is my brother-in-law and clearly, my sister married exceptionally well. I know he would say he is just doing what needs to be done, and that it is no less than what Ann would do for him if the situation were reversed.
This, in fact, is the essence of leadership. It is about doing the right thing even when difficult, and especially when no one is looking, and showing the way forward and being present for those who count on you. It is also about facing up to challenges, making the critical decisions and drawing on the broader community for strength. In doing so, he has also given others strength and reminded us of the caring and compassion that we humans are capable of and depend on.
We applaud Steve for showing such leadership in a time of adversity, and there is much to learn from his great example. Steve, know that we are all with you as you lead the way.