Words of Gratitude (#5) to my mentor, Cy Wakeman

Words of Gratitude (#5) to my mentor, Cy Wakeman 150 150 Jason Lauritsen

Note: I’m writing a note of gratitude on the blog each day in November leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. My hope is that these posts will inspire you to do the same. Write an email, Facebook post, or a text to tell people they have made an impact on you. Gratitude is contagious. 

About fifteen years ago, I remember sitting at the back of the room for a concurrent session during a conference I was attending. The speaker, to my surprise, was dynamic and funny and engaging. And, she left me with real stuff to think about.  I was really impressed. So I grabbed one of her cards and I held on to it, hoping someday I might be able to hire her to do some work with me.

Eventually, a year and a half later, I was able to engage with her on a big project for the company where I worked. Over the course of that year, we did some amazing work together. And we became friends.

Her name was Cy Wakeman.  If you don’t know Cy, you need to. She is an amazing keynote speaker with the kind of natural charisma that makes other speakers jealous. And she’s written some great books that will change your thinking in powerful ways.

Over the past decade and a half, few people have had a bigger impact on my career than Cy. From the first moments we met, she’s been a mentor and champion for me. My thinking about leadership, management, and organizational culture has her fingerprints all over it.

Cy has coached me through some tough times professionally with great advice and guidance. When I got my legendary “you suck” list of feedback during my corporate years, she helped me recover and turn that experience into rocket fuel.

When I left my last corporate gig and wasn’t sure what was next, she found space within her organization for me to do what I did best.

It was Cy who helped me understand that this crazy and wonderfully weird career of public speaking and writing was even possible. Her generosity with advice and encouragement and support has overwhelmed me over the years.

Even now, in this past year, while her business is growing like never before she’s busier than ever, she found time to graciously write the forward for my new book and to help spread that word. It’s humbling to have a friend and mentor like this in my life.

Cy, you are the best. Thank you for everything you’ve done to help me along the way. I’m so grateful to know you and call you a friend. I just wish we could find more time in our crazy lives to drink wine and solve the world’s problems like in the old days. 🙂


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Jason Lauritsen