Back in my working days at HP I had the opportunity to get to know and work with a lot of really great people, but there were a handful of absolutely fabulous colleagues that I really enjoyed collaborating with. Beth is one of the handful and I loved working with her. Together we were the global sales and operations managers of a virtual team we had in place around the world to take care of the international needs of several NYC-based private equity firms’ portfolio companies. It required a lot of clear and careful communication on our parts, then a lot of trust and follow-up in all of the folks around the world, all of whom were executing the plans we put in place for these U.S.-based multi-national companies. Early morning calls with Europe… late evening calls with Asia… month-end sales reporting to senior leadership… quarterly business reviews with the PE firms… it was often tedious and seldom fun, but Beth was always with me and I honestly felt that as long as we were on the same team together there was nothing we couldn’t get through.
We worked together on this high-profile segment of HP’s global business for a couple of years until I took advantage of HP’s Early Retirement Program back in August of 2012 at which time I left. But as I knew we would do, Beth and I kept in touch because throughout our work and near-daily calls together we had developed a really nice friendship. I learned about her family and she of mine. I felt like I knew Beth, her husband Wayne, and their daughter Hazel although I had never actually met any of them.
But alas, last Saturday early evening Fred and I pulled Charley and Toad into their beautiful subdivision in north Phoenix, parked in front of their house for a few hours (I wonder if the neighbors had sudden flashbacks of The Griswolds?!) and I was finally able to meet Beth face-to-face after six-plus years!
Beth had all of the meal prep done when we arrived, so we were able to have a nice house tour and catch-up over a glass of wine before Wayne and Hazel came home from Hazel’s volleyball tournament. And then it was show time! We were treated to a most-delicious four-course meal out on their beautiful back patio — cheese fondue as a first course… wedge salads came next… coq au vin fondue for our main course… and a perfect pot of chocolate fondue to finish off the meal. It was such a fun treat!
Our evening was wonderful thanks to the White family’s amazing hospitality. We’ve already planned our return to the area and are looking forward to connecting with Beth and family again. We had miles to go before we slept that night — a little over 100, to be precise, as we had to be in Sedona by morning — so we took off, but we were sent away with full bellies, big smiles, and some nice leftovers. Thank you, all three of you, for welcoming us into your house and treating us to such a wonderful evening. We won’t be waiting six more years to connect again!