I've been so blessed in my professional life to have mentors and friends who cared deeply for me. These people are irreplaceable role models in my world - and I have recently lost one such soul. Greg Taylor, who served as a district manager for UDR out here, and who spent countless hours volunteering time to our local apartment association, passed away recently. It has taken me sometime to compose my thoughts on Greg's death, and seeing as how he admitted to me that he was an avid reader of my blog, I cannot think of a better place for these words and memories.
Greg was an inspiration, a mentor, an ally, but mostly Greg was a dear dear friend.We started conversing through the magic of connections that only an apartment association can provide, and once we got past the shop talk, Greg and I realized that we had a lot in common - a mutual love of fine arts, music and theatre, a sense of realistic humor about the world around us, and a desire to make the world a better place for the people in it.
Greg had the rare ability to bring out the best in everyone. I never sat in a room that Greg didn't make a better place to be, simply by entering it. He carried a sense of humor about the world that was not only contagious but could change your perspective on a situation with a single sentence. Greg knew how to give a boost to someone when they needed it the most. Genuine to the core, when Greg told you that he believed in you, it left no room for doubt in your own mind. Greg said to me once that he was watching my career with great anticipation and interest, and I'm not sure he ever realized exactly how much that meant to me. When things grew complicated and frustrating, I could turn to him and, even if he disagreed with me, he always made me feel validated, but more importantly, he always made me feel valued. Knowing that he's still watching makes me want to perform at the level I know he would be proud of me.
I wish I had thought to tell him how much he meant to me when he was still here.
I will miss his smile. His contagious laughter. I'll miss the way that he would greet me with the biggest of hugs. And most of all, I will miss the gifts that he brought to this world - an example of kindness, leadership, love and generosity that I will happily follow in the footsteps of. And though I mourn Greg's passing, I celebrate the amazing things that he brought to my life and the lives of those around him, and I will carry his spirit with me on my own path through this world.