Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Dancing COO

We knew he was special right from the start.

Deepak left a lucrative job with IBM to come and work with the Foundation - the drop he took in salary was so staggering it might be called a plummet - but he seemed not to give that even a second thought.

For his interview, I asked Ravi to join me because I wanted a second opinion. After Deepak left, Ravi said: "Grab him. You aren't going to find another person like this."

We were both impressed with his degree of professionalism and the extent to which he had prepared in advance. He seemed to have memorized our website - he knew every project inside and out and had even looked through the balance sheets from our previous years. He came ready with suggestions for how to streamline systems and ideas for how to more efficiently manage the Foundation.

We were dazzled.

And over the next year, he not only didn't disappoint, he continued to shine. Management and financial skills, of course, we expected. That's what he was trained in and what he had promised to deliver. But where he surprised us was with his insight into people, his constant ability to find the positive in almost any situation and his gift - with humor and charm - for encouraging all of us to do more.

He sets the example. Since I live next door to our office, I am aware of everyone's comings and goings - Deepak could give even VANDANA a run for her money (and we all know how devoted Vandana is). Many nights, I see his light on after ten. One night, he slept in the office because it got so late he didn't want to disturb his whole family by ringing the bell at home.

So it seemed like we had all we could wish for in this Chief Operating Officer (did I mention he can also write beautifully?).

But this week, at our staff retreat, we discovered there was more.

Deepak can dance.

Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Bhangra. OK, a little unusual to have all three, but they are his national heritage, after all.

He stunned us, however, by further demonstrating the steps for the foxtrot, the salsa, the waltz and the tango! . . .

. . . leaving us, in the words of my favorite fictional character, Stephen Maturin, "all to seek."

Truly a marvel. I am waiting eagerly for the next surprise. A Waltzing COO. What could possibly be next?


SC Vashishth said...

Now I understand the secret of Foundation's success stories. Its people with such dedication and grabbers like you who can find such people! I am not mentioning your leadership skills and power of encouragement that you constantly use to keep the motivation high!

My good wishes, Jo to you,Deepak, Vandana and several others who are bringing smiles to many!

Subhash Chandra Vashishth

Entropy said...

Heartwarming and gratifying ..

As such thousands of trees in the World are accidentally planted by squirrels who bury nuts & then forget where they hid them..

Thanks for sharing your World of such trees..

Jo Chopra McGowan said...

Thanks, Subhash! I think our field is full of such gems - you are certainly proof of that!

And Ajay, are you calling us NUTS????