Mel and I often speak to new employees regarding their first impression — be it on the phone or in person. Sadly for some, the first impression is their “best,” and it’s all downhill from there. But for others, that first impression is meaningful, and every interaction, every contact thereafter continues to reinforce that positive connection.
This week’s blog was to be about the amazing month we just had. Instead, I want to talk about someone who left a great first impression with me almost 13 years ago . . . and it only got better from there. Sadly, that person passed away this past Thursday. And my heart wants to share my grief about her death and my joy at having known her.
On one of my very first sales trips many years ago, I traveled through New York and New Jersey. During that trip, I will always remember my first stop at Cadence Exhibits in New Jersey very fondly. Cadence is a Classic Distributor, owned and managed by Greg and Marge Isbrecht.
You might say the location was memorable, and it was. It was located on an older Army base and weapons depot. So during my meeting, I literally heard shells exploding, which was new for me. It was one of my very first “solo” sales presentations of a fully loaded 10 x 20 Intro Fabric System. It was Ghost Gum Frontrunner with an Emerald Frontrunner stripe along the base. Funny how I remember certain things in such detail. At the time, it was the Cadillac of Fabric Panels Systems, when fabric panel systems were still big sellers.
Anyway, my presentation was clumsy at best. I walked in with all the confidence in the world, then began to sweat and shake from nervousness. Clearly a case of the jitters and the constant exploding that shook the building didn’t help. Yet both Greg and Marge made me feel totally at ease, stepping in to help me present to them! We connected, and it was nice to have a veteran of our industry, like Marge, show so much patience and kindness to a newbie like myself.
About a year and half later, give or take a few months, I was diagnosed with cancer. And while I had all the support anyone could ever ask for on the homefront, some people in the industry really took a personal/friend approach with me as well. They called to check in frequently during my treatments, and sent care packages and notes along the way.
Marge was one of those special people. I must have received at least 10 letters from her over three months while I was undergoing chemo. All of which was encouraging, prayerful, and meant a ton to me.
Sadly, Marge, after being diagnosed with a very rare form of lymphoma over the holidays, passed this past week.
Someone said in an email earlier this week that “all of us need to slow down a little and make sure that we take the time to care for one another and prioritize.” I appreciated hearing that, and am thankful for having known Marge and that she called our industry home for as long as she did. She certainly left a lasting impression with a young, very green, wannabe sales guy many years ago. One that I will forever be thankful for.
My thoughts and prayers are with Greg, who lost a loving friend and wife of so many years, and their daughter Jessica who is a great example of the mother she had.
Thanks for listening and be well. To read her obituary, please click here.