Today my boss announced he's retiring after 31 years at Hallmark. 31 years? ...he was just getting started!!! I've been working with him since July 1, 2013 and it has undoubtedly been the best experience in my career.
Jeff is a true leader. He comes from a creative background, with an emphasis in photography. He has led many different groups at Hallmark. He appreciates everyone on his team for their unique skills and abilities, and he knows everyone on a deep, personal level. He works well with people of all personality types and work styles, and is skilled at bridging gaps between them. He allows everyone to be themselves. We are all very comfortable with him, we respect him, and therefore we are willing to work very hard under his leadership. Furthermore, he is forward thinking and innovative, has a knack for knowing what ideas will work, and is great at removing obstacles so that we may get further, faster. His credibility is strong within the organization senior leaders, and he commands respect.
I have made it no secret that he is the number one reason I was seeking this position a little over year ago. I've known Jeff for years, but we hadn't worked directly together. I knew I would learn a lot from him, and I've been happier and more successful than I ever could have imagined at the time.
While I'm generally really comfortable with change, and certainly my mind is open to the potential of who might take this position next (if they choose to fill it, and don't reorganize to eliminate the position), this was unexpected and I'm in shock. I just can't imagine anyone else who could fill Jeff's shoes. Oh sure, there are a lot of competent leaders within and outside of our company, but Jeff is really special. I wish it were more, but I'm thankful that I will have had a year to work with him.