Late this evening I learned of the passing of Grahame Maher, the CEO of Vodafone Qatar.
I am shocked and saddened.
Though I only saw him once, he truly left an ever-lasting impression on me. He was the key-note speaker at Qatar’s first How Women Work conference I attended back in the spring of 2010.
I’ve worked with a lot of CEO’s and this man was not like any others I’ve encountered.
He spoke with passion, commitment, but most of all – caring. I remember him talking about how important family was. How important his family was to him.
He talked about how some of the best decisions are made by our gut-feelings. Our instincts. Which is why he found women to be such great managers as they are generally more in touch with their feelings than many men can sometimes be.
He talked about companies having a purpose. That employees needed to know and understand that purpose, be committed to that purpose and work towards it.
To believe in what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. And that if you DID THAT, the bottom line would take care of itself.
He said all the things I believe to be true about our priorities in life, our purpose in life. What matters. What doesn’t.
I couldn’t believe my ears, really. People can say a lot of things, but all of his colleagues I met that day, also spoke of the same vision. They all said that he walked the talk. It wasn’t a bunch of BS that you normally hear out of the mouths of top execs.
I left that day feeling what I believed about what work and organisations could be, should be, wasn’t crazy or far-fetched. Or naive. I knew there was at least one other person who believed the same things.
He’s gone. But he will never be forgotten.
My deepest condolences to his wife and his two daughters and all who were touched by him.