It's December 17th, 2010, the morning after Larry King's last show on CNN. The decision to pass the torch to Piers Morgan, who was born in 1965--the first year after the end of the Baby Boomer generation--makes me very cognizant of the fact that Baby Boomers are officially becoming senior citizens. Ugh.
As if to really emphasize this passing of the torch, this day is also Pat Segnere's [VP-Sales for the Technical Products Team] last day at Ivoclar Vivadent. The announcement of his retirement initially left me feeling, selfishly, somewhat deserted. Pat is among my original, fellow-Boomer industry friends and has been a vocal supporter of LMT's mission dating back to the early 80s. (Of course, that feeling of desertion is the one that whispers: "time waits for no one." We love the hellos and hate the goodbyes.)
My hello with Pat began with a pick up at the Buffalo airport back in 1983. That's not what it sounds like. I was met with a warm welcome and a ride to headquarters of what was then the Williams Gold Refining Co. During the brief drive, Pat impressed me with his car phone--only the second installed phone like that I'd ever seen--which he used, first to let the Williams brothers know we were on the way and next to field a call regarding final details of the pig roast he had planned for the upcoming weekend. Yes, it's embedded like that in my memory, senior moments notwithstanding!
The meeting that followed formed the basis of a long-standing, mutually respectful friendship. As I navigated my way through the huge learning curve required to "get" dental technology, it was understood that I could call on Pat to help clarify one thing or another or to put me in touch with someone who would be a good contact for LMT. He's always been willing to fill me in on the story behind the story.
What we glean from people like Pat enhances our life experience. I have always admired how self-assured he is. It's a quality we find inviting and comforting as in, "Ah, here's someone who can handle this," or, "He'll know the answer, let's go ask him what we should do." I know I'm hardly alone in my appreciation of this kind of charismatic confidence and those of you who know Pat know what I mean. There is no arrogance or ego involved; it's raw and real comfort with who he is and what he knows. And this is what I'm going to miss the most.
There aren't enough Segneres in our lives so when they come around we latch on. Apparently, Depak Chopra has spent a great deal of time thinking about the kind of people to whom others latch on. In his just-published book, The Soul of Leadership, he says, "When you can arrive at the point where looking and listening comes from your entire being, you are setting the stage to be an inspiring leader." Maybe he knows Pat too.
Goodbyes are my least favorite thing. They stir the emotions in ways that make us ache. They also mean change, transition, adjustment, rearrangement and forced acceptance. On the other hand, they also promote growth. I'm grateful that I know Pat. I appreciate him and I'm glad I can share that out loud. I'm also really pleased to know new adventures await him. Such is life.
Decade number two in this new millennium begins with our acute awareness that the world that was familiar to us when Pat joined this community 36 years ago is vastly different now. This world has all of us scrambling to "get" dental technology as digital innovations relentlessly challenge us to keep pace. Ah, to be self-assured in this environment is a mighty fine quality. May we all aspire to carry forth Pat's legacy in 2011 and beyond.