Dear Lois,

You may not remember me, but I remember you. You see, my mother, was a single-mother and you hired her in the most difficult of times. She had just undergone a nasty divorce and was trying desperately to raise two little girls.

Hard stuff.

You ran an enterprising business and hired her as a receptionist. But, you saw her true potential. You motivated, trained, and inspired my mother to be something better. And, in doing so, you have impacted the woman I am today. The manager I am today. Yes, even the mother I am today.

You see, every time my mom came home from work frustrated (quite often), I would eavesdrop on phone conversations you would have with her (I was quite the nosey child). Suddenly, her demeanor would brighten up, she'd be more optimistic, and that sprinkled down to me, her daughter.

On days when I came to work with my mother, I'd watch as you calmly, eloquently, directed the show. It was like watching a conductor of an orchestra, graceful, precise, and filled with passion. You floated around the office with such poise and refinement, it was hard for me not to be mesmerized by you.

When Christmas would come around, I always received gifts from you. I told you once that I wanted to be a writer, I was probably seven at the time, and every Christmas thereafter I received beautiful books from you, as if you gave an approving nod to my dreams.  I often wondered why you cared so much for our family.

Our little family of three.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... Thank You. In an era when working mothers were starting to emerge, you always gave my mother the grace to be both an employee and a mother. Never asking for her to choose, never asking for her to prioritize, never asking for anything more than she could give. She was paid extraordinarily well and she provided a fantastic living for our family. Being your apprentice was one of the greatest opportunities you gave her, but I'm sure you didn't realize you had two apprentices at your feet, for I learned from you as well.

I cannot say I am the boss you were. I can only aspire to be such a woman. A woman who cares about the employee and the family, a woman who cares about the business and the person, a woman who cares about the dreams of others, a woman who inspires, uplifts, and begs to be learned from.

Thank you for being the first female boss I ever encountered. You showed me that I could do anything with my life, even run a multi-million dollar company (which, by the way, I ended up doing). And more often than not, I'd say to myself "What would Lois do in this situation?"

Thank you, Lois. For the woman you have always been and for the woman you helped shape me into.