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The long-lasting impact of particular events, actions, etc., that took place in the past or of a person’s life.”

I attended a retirement party this past weekend for a gentleman I have known for over 30 years. The gathering included a large number of friends, former coworkers, and bosses. Surprisingly, there were even individuals who had worked with him at multiple companies over 40 years.

I felt the love, admiration, and loyalty for this person. 

This sentiment was recognized during a dedicated celebration and speech segment of the night. A slide presentation revisited memories of events we had attended together and served as a reminder of how he warmly welcomed people into his home for barbecues, making them feel like part of the family by introducing them to his wife and children. The slides chronicled his journey through his last job, involving travels to different countries and contributions to the company’s diversity program.

Then the tear ducts opened with heartfelt speeches. His last boss and close friend delivered a speech about this person expressing the desire to leave a lasting legacy within the company and highlighting the numerous individuals he had mentored and inspired. Woven within the speech were humorous stories recounting projects and events the two had shared.

Another speech followed from another previous boss, and over the years, both families had become friends. They witnessed their kids grow up and celebrated each other’s accomplishments. This former boss also embarked on a journey to strengthen diversity within the company they worked for. I had attended events with this person and followed their business journey, witnessing their commitment to community work and efforts to support underrepresented individuals within the workplace.

I sat there and pondered the retiring person’s life work within the companies they worked for and the contributions they made in the communities they lived in. The individuals in the room whom they had interacted with throughout their lifetime all shared something in common: 

              This person. The inspiration to help others.

It dawned on me that the actions I have taken over the years—whether coaching a YMCA team, leading, teaching, or mentoring a group of students—all have been influenced by this person. Their impact on my choices along my journey became evident. The things I choose to support and dedicate my time to are all connected to the influence of this person. I am committed to continuing on this path, creating a legacy of supporting others in finding their passions, knowing that they are welcome and that they have a voice.