It isn’t what you say or do that people will remember — it is how you made them feel that they will never forget.
I didn’t put that phrase in quotes because it has been said many times and its origins aren’t clear (although Maya Angelou gets plenty of props online), but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a rock-solid statement. And it has been reverberating in my head these past few weeks because of the loss of someone who was very good at making everyone feel great.
I wasn’t going to write about Lisa Roy, who passed away far too soon on New Year’s Eve, in this column originally because she was a friend and collaborator from my pro audio days and not really known in these circles. (Although if you are interested in her effect on the pro audio industry, there were many tributes written these past few weeks, including terrific ones by my writing mentors Martin Porter and Tom Kenny). But the lessons learned from my time with Lisa span industries, and so I decided to share.
During my time as managing editor of EQ magazine and Surround Professional, Lisa was…hard to define. She knew everybody and could get them to sit with you for an interview or write one herself. She knew manufacturers, studio engineers, producers, and artists. In Tom Kenny’s tribute, he called her “the Great Connector,” which is spot-on because she could bring anybody you needed into the room in the short notice that trade editors seem to revel in.
But that was what she did, and although I know she helped me numerous times, that is not what comes to mind when I think of Lisa. What does is how that everyone in her orbit was treated as a rock star — even in rooms where there were actual rock stars.
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I was maybe a few years out of college when I met Lisa and working as a secondary editor on the #3 recording trade magazine in the biz (Mix and Pro Sound News were numbers 1 and 2, respectively). Still, that did not stop her from telling the likes of mega-producers Phil Ramone (Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra) and Al Schmitt (Paul McCartney, Diana Krall) that I was someone they should be talking to. And the idea of these legends even glancing toward me let alone engaging with me was crazy enough, but that they did shows how Lisa earned the “Great Connector” title.
And this was the way she treated everybody. With Lisa, it wasn’t forced and the conversations she initiated were natural and comfortable. She was able to break down walls between people, and she did it with her unique style and flair for fashion. All things I have never been able to replicate. She was a natural.
I hadn’t spoken to her in years, but I sure remember how she made me feel like I belonged in any room we were in.
So, what’s the takeaway here? We can all use a Lisa in our lives — both personal and business. That person who makes it easier to get the job done and expands your network to places you never thought of, all the while making you feel like you are exactly where you should be.
Who is the Lisa in your life? Maybe no one — Lisas are certainly rare. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t try to be the Lisa for one another.