I first met Pell (whom I lovingly call Pell-ster as often as she lets me get away with it) when I was elected to The College of Saint Rose Alumni Association Board of Directors. I was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board until the next regular election. Pell was the Second Vice President, which meant she was in charge of Reunion Weekend.
I have written before about my feelings for St. Rose, and how it holds a special place in my heart. When I was asked to join the Alumni Association, I said yes because whenever I am with other St. Rose people, I have fun. Pell is definitely on the list as one of the “funnest” friends I have gained through the Alumni Association.
Reunion Weekend is held each year in June. Although all classes are invited to attend, special events are planned for the classes celebrating a reunion ending in “5” or “0” (the 10th year, the 35th year, etc.). Special significance is placed on the Golden Rose class, those celebrating their 50 year reunion.
I ended up spending the next ten years in an elected position on the Board, serving as a Director, then Secretary and then two terms as President. Pell was there for half of that time and I am grateful she was there to serve as a mentor.
Serving alongside Pell, I learned important lessons about how to build consensus and how to form a team around an activity. Pell found value in everyone who volunteered for Reunion and other St. Rose events. She recognized unique talents and always made people feel as if they were the most important person contributing to the success of an event. Pell was generous with her praise and never hogged the spotlight for any of her accomplishments.
Pell can mingle within a group and still charm you in one-on-one discussions. She listens attentively when you are talking, and offers valuable insight when asked. When I was a new Board member, I was thinking of changing jobs. Pell knew I was uncertain about what to do, and reminded me a person’s occupation does not need to be their identity. We were sitting at a picnic table outside the Campus Center, watching the Class of 1970 gather for a group photo, when she offered the following advice:
You can always find a way to be of service in any job, Denise. If you are passionate about it, that is great. But if not, you don’t have to stay there forever. Learn what you can from the experience and use it to make you a better candidate for what you DO want to do.”
It was the perfect advice for me. Bloom where you are planted, even if you are searching for a new patch of dirt.
Pell provides caring acts of service all the time. She is passionate about animals, and regularly shares information about dogs and cats who are in need of a forever home. On her Facebook page, I see articles about social justice, the environment, personal responsibility and job notices. Pell knows what it is like to be looking for a job so she shares opportunities with those in her network, knowing her network is there to help her if it is needed.
A year ago when I first asked my own network for assistance helping me fulfill a dream, Pell reached out right away. Her message was simple, but meant so much coming from a woman I so admire.
You’re an inspiration, and a woman full of substance. So rare in this world. Thank you for being you and including me in your sphere.
Pell – I am the one grateful to be included in YOUR sphere. I treasure the times we have spent together, and the many ways you have taught me to be a better leader through your own example. Thank you for your words of encouragement as I share my writing and story with a larger audience. Even though you now live on the other side of the country, I know you would be there in an instant if I sent up a cry for assistance. That true friendship is a treasure, and I am grateful to have it as a gift in my life. Thanks, Pell-ster!