The Man Who Inspired the Keep In Touch (KIT) List

5 11 2010

After the recent coverage about the KIT List (due to the efforts of great friends!) (http://budurl.com/merc1), and seeing over 350 people come to the recent KIT List meet-up, I wanted to share with you the true source of the “Keep In Touch” spirit, and who is my role model…my Dad!

As most of you know, I didn’t start the KIT List with any grand ideas; I was just trying to stay in touch with my friends at Silicon Graphics. I actually had no idea what I was starting. I’ve told friends that had I known what I was in for, I would have run screaming in the other direction!

But the spirit which started the list, and what made it grow as my friends reached out to help other friends, is from simply modeling what my father taught our family through his actions.

See a quick video of my SGI friends give a hello to my dad at the latest SGI Reunion on 9/14 to encourage him while he was sick at: http://budurl.com/HiBob

The Inspiration for the KIT ListBob Connelly

Bob Connelly is the quintessential “Keep In Touch” person. He has stayed in contact with friends over the decades dating back from grade school, World War II, Notre Dame (where he was grateful to attend through the G.I. Bill), clients who became longtime friends, and the many others he’s met over the years. He faithfully went to nearly every reunion, even his ship reunions from the war, and he was part of the creaky cavalcade of Notre Dame alumni who proudly marched into the Notre Dame stadium at a football game who were in their 70s and 80s.

My dad grew up during the Depression which forged the Greatest Generation. His family was financially devastated, and his mother died at a young age of tuberculosis after spending five years in a sanitarium. Yet the suffering and the sacrifices of that economic meltdown bore rich fruits in the courage, ethics and resolve of an entire generation which prepared them to tip the scales and win World War II. They learned to work together with people of diverse backgrounds, develop leadership at young ages, push themselves beyond their limits, sacrifice for others, and hone true character. Those that came home were able to commence one of the biggest growth periods of our nation.

I am convinced that this challenging economy will reap great gifts as well. We are a strong people, and I have faith that we will be better as a result.

The Spirit of Keeping in Touch

The roots of the KIT List are in my father’s many years of regular phone calls to friends across the country, handwritten notes, visiting friends and those who were sick or lonely, and always being willing to help someone find a job, get career or financial advice, or who just needed a warm smile and a good joke. My dad has a vast repertoire of jokes (some old and much repeated!), and I sure wish I had his Irish gift of telling a joke well and making everyone laugh around him. If I’m at an event and I hear people laughing, my dad is sure to be in the middle of it!

After beating cancer, he’s now contending with Parkinson’s Disease. He has patiently endured going from playing tennis three times a week with his old buddies to having his back stooped over into what I describe as a parenthesis with shuffled steps as he struggles to walk. His ever-present smile and twinkle in his eyes have fallen prey to the “Parkinson’s face,” robbing him of much of his facial expression. But he still makes people laugh and he smiles as he peers up at people over his glasses.

Mom and Dad

He’s had to give up many things, including the much-cherished tradition of the Connelly Manhattan which he specialized in making. Yet he never complains except to say, “Getting old isn’t for sissies!” He has weathered many storms due to his optimistic attitude and his enduring faith. He is an optimist by choice – he chooses to focus on what is good, and to let the negative go. He has had a truly happy life and marriage as a result.

  

Learn Each Person’s Story

My dad has always wanted to hear everyone’s “story.” He’s still deeply interested in hearing where they were from, where they went to school, their families, and what is important to them. And he REMEMBERS! I’m astounded on how he recalls so many details about just about everyone he meets, and how he brings both important and small details into their conversations. I think SalesForce.com should emulate the neural network in my father’s brain! If I could only have a fraction of his memory recall!

The secret is that he genuinely cares, and that’s enough to make him commit things to memory and make it stick. He taught us to treat everyone with equal respect, whether they were a CEO or someone who empties the office trash cans at night. It’s evident that after some CEO exploits, that the person sweeping the floor has far greater integrity and character!

My father was successful with his own business because people trusted him – and he worked hard and had deep wisdom. While he is the first to say that he wasn’t the best student, he was very grateful to graduate from Notre Dame. However, he worked two jobs and rushed to graduate early by taking more classes and going to summer school so he would be out before all the other returning GIs graduated! Thomas Jefferson’s concept and Samuel Goldwyn’s quote say it all, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

Before Parkinson's

Since my father just came out of another tough time these past few weeks with his Parkinson’s, I wanted this blog post to give credit to my father for his influence in my life — and for his impact on the creation of the KIT List. His encouragement when I faced my own challenging times, and when I struggled with keeping the KIT List going, has been absolutely vital. His advice, his unwavering support of me and in the KIT List community, has been one of the reasons the KIT List not only still exists, but keeps growing (68,000 members!). His belief in the essential goodness of people is proved by the high-quality and amazing people in our KIT List community.

As so many of are facing financial, medical, or any one of a myriad of challenges in this time, let’s remember the generations before us who not only weathered other tough times, but triumphed and flourished after enduring and doing the right thing. The power of the personal touch and for reaching out to others in authentic and practical ways to help has stood the test of time and it’s the best way to turn adversity into a great opportunity.

Hang in there, help each other…and let’s all keep in touch!

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56 responses

6 02 2012
Lisa

When I was working a second job at Mike’s Cafe a few years ago, your parents were regular customers. Your Dad teased me about being from Illinois, and as you wrote, told a lot of jokes. He told me about the KITList at that time, although this morning is my first visit. I haven’t worked at Mike’s cafe for a few years, so I just learned about your Dad passing. I am so sorry for your loss….I am sad and, at the same time, feel so fortunate for having gotten to know him just a little bit!

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23 04 2011
watch free football

Wonderful post, Sue, and a wonderful story about your Dad

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31 01 2011
Judy Mulders

I was very touched to read your descriptions of your father. Sounds like he will always be in your heart. Thank you so much for maintaining the KIT List and I hope you can find comfort in knowing you are carrying on your father’s traditions.

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18 12 2010
Tiffeny Price

Hi Sue , I don’t know you and have never met your father but I thought this might be a good time to express my thanks for being there for me with the kit list throughout the years.

You dad must have been an incredible inspiration for you create this resource for bay area marketing and tech people. I love the magic of the Kit list that has always been there to help me get employed quickly, stay healthy and keep profitable.
You and your dad have truly built an tremendous resouce for a very large and special group that need it. I want you to know that your affect many lives and I hope that gives you a sense of comfort during a difficult time. Please keep the Kit list going!

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12 12 2010
Ping

Sue, Best wishes to you and your family!

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12 12 2010
Sue

Wishing you and your family the best. So sorry for your loss.

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12 12 2010
Christine

My condolences to you and your family. I have been inspired using your KIT List during my job search.
Thanks for all the inspiration you and your family have provided.

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11 12 2010
Linda Harvey

The job I have now came through KITlist, and I am just learning how much a part of it came from your dad. Thanks for writing such a beautiful tribute. I am sorry for your loss.

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11 12 2010
Ron

Dear Sue, my condolences to you and your family. Thank you for posting and sharing your story with all of us about your hero, your father. It is truly an inspiring story. Your father will be missed. I have had the pleasure of receiving the KIT list updates for months now. A former client of mine encouraged me to sign up to receive updates, after I mentioned to her I was looking for other opportunities. She was a caring and strong person who had also lost her father (2009) and was mourning and trying to move forward. God bless and keep up the good work!

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11 12 2010
Lylyana

May peace and strength be with you and your family.

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11 12 2010
Linda Popky

Sue,

I’m so sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. What an inspiring person he was. I can see his spirit in both you and Kelly and I know how proud he must have been of all you both have accomplished.

My thoughts are with you in this difficult time.

regards,
Linda

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11 12 2010
Jeanne H

I am so sorry to hear about your dad. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. I’m glad your family was able to be with him at his bedside. Know that he is now at peace and will be watching over you and all the good work you do. You and your sister are a tribute to pay it forward. Many thanks!

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11 12 2010
Elizabeth

Thank you for sharing! Your post and your email about your dad is inspiring. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers — I hope to emulate your father, and his wonderful daughter.

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11 12 2010
LJ

I am so sorry for your loss. His love and your memories of him will sustain and be with you forever. Blessings to your family.

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11 12 2010
Elizabeth Scarborough

Thank you for sharing! Your post and your email about your dad is inspiring. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers — I hope to emulate your father, and his wonderful daughter.

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10 12 2010
Lak Ming Lam

Thank you for sharing your story with us and it sure inspired me. I am glad that you have such a wonderful dad. May God’s peace and comfort be with you and your families.

Keep up the good good with KIT and it means a lot to job seekers like me.

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10 12 2010
Jenola

Sorry to here about dad. My prays are with you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story about your dad. I have been on (Kit)list email for quite some time, and it has been great in seeking work! I just wanted to thank you and your family for all the hard work that your family has put in to helping other to find jobs. God Bless!!!!

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10 12 2010
Gary Frank

So sorry, Sue. RIP.

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10 12 2010
Darren Mason

Thank you for sharing Sue and our thoughts a prayers are with your family. I’m relatively new to KIT, but it is THE place I am telling everyone about when I hear they are looking for work. Thanks to you, your sister and your dad for putting together a great resource that is helping many – especially during these challenging economic times.
All the best!

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10 12 2010
Peter Alexander

Dear Sues,

Dear Sue,

Our thoughts are with you.
You have our deepest sympathy.

The Alexander’s family (Kaye, Janet, Peter)

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10 12 2010
Marshall

It is so perfect and wonderful that your dad was the inspiration of KIT Lit.

Today KIT List stands as a living memorial to you and your father’s work.

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1 12 2010
Barbara French

Sue, Thanks for sharing such a personal revelation. Of all modes of leadership, leading by example is the toughest. You and your Dad are inspirations.

Thanks too for keeping KIT List going. I’ve referred countless marketing pro’s to it over the years. You’ve made the world a better place for many, many people. I can’t even imagine how many found jobs, friends and careers through KIT List.

Barbara

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12 11 2010
Kimberley

What a sweet and lovely story. Thank you.

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8 11 2010
Kelly R

My mother, Marge Miller (below), sent me a posting for a job back in 2006. I got the job and am still here. I owe so very much to the KiT List. Thank you!

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7 11 2010
Melinda (Manley) Gross

Sue, it was a joy to work with you, and I’m sorry it was for such a brief time. It’s clear to me that you learned your cheerful attitude and work ethic from your dad. So many of us have been blessed by him–vicariously! You and your dad represent the real “social networks”–with a human touch.

Thanks for sticking with the KIT list, even through the challenging times. So many have benefited from a forum to help others.

All the best,
Melinda

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6 11 2010
Deborah Gavrin Frangquist

Thank you, Sue, for sharing your Dad and his story with us all. He’s a wonderful reminder that what really matters is a big heart and hard work!

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6 11 2010
CM Lim

Sue,
I thank you for sharing this personal story. It is refreshing to find that such character and ethics still abound (and the torch being passed on, no less). There is HOPE for us all yet.

Just wanted to take this opportunity to say hi and thanks for the effort. I was an SGI alumni and we communicated briefly in the past (2001? oh my), but I understand that time is now a precious commodity to you… Sorry I missed the recent SGI Reunion (did not know about it), but am now doing a contract job in Oregon anyways, a sign of the times…

Wishing you the best in all you do.
Take care.

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5 11 2010
Beth

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. And how lucky we all are that you were blessed with such a great man as a father. He and you have touched the lives of thousands with humanity and compassion and I can’t imagine a greater masure of a successful life.

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5 11 2010
Marge Miller

Sue, thanks for sharing such a wonderful story about your dad. You have been very blessed having him in your life. He’s a real inspiration and such an amazing role model! Thanks for taking on his legacy of paying it forward and keeping in touch – now you are inspiring us…

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5 11 2010
Lanny Udell

Thank you for sharing this warm and inspiring story. Your father sounds like a very special person, and a wonderful role model. I love this phrase: and he was part of the creaky cavalcade of Notre Dame alumni 🙂

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5 11 2010
Robin Gaither

A touching tribute from a very special lady to a clearly wonderful and dear man. Sue, ‘The apple sure didn’t fall far from the tree!’ His Irish eyes must be smiling with pride!

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5 11 2010
gail rubino

Thank you so much for remembering your father for all of us.

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5 11 2010
Adrienne Landy

Hi Sue,

Your Dad reminds me of my one dear father.
Even though he is no longer physically with me,
I am every inspired by his example, ethics and values which made him a role model for me and
others as well.

Thanks for writing your tribute to your Dad and many thanks for starting and maintaining KitList.

I look foward to meeting you sometime.

Kind regards,

Adrienne Landy
President
World of Work Consultants LLC.

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5 11 2010
Stephanie

Beautiful and touching. Thank you Sue!

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5 11 2010
John D. Moore

Sue,
With a daughter named Sue, struggling with MS, but continuing to manage a Lucy Women’s Clothing store in Denver, I was so touched with the love of your Father shown in your message! I am challenged by medical problems plus trying to find a job at 73 but am very
motivated by you two Sues. God Bless and thank you!
John D.

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5 11 2010
Natalie Silvesti

Ditto to all the comments above. Your blog brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for taking the time to reflect on your father’s influence in your life and to share it with us. You have provided a wonderful service to all of us in the high tech community. Thanks for sticking with it through good times and bad.

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5 11 2010
Marsha

What a lovely way to honor your father and to show the genuine humanity behind KIT List. As someone new to this venue, I’m impressed and inspired by your story which really reminds us that we can not only persevere but thrive despite life’s challenges. Thank you!

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5 11 2010
Tony Loeb

Sue, I can certainly see how the power of your dad’s convictions shines through in your tremendous and long-standing commitment to the KITlist! We have both of you to thank, and thank we do!

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5 11 2010
Gretchen Sand

Sue,

Thank you for sharing about your inspiration. It is impressive and special how you have “paid it forward,” bringing your dad’s generosity and warmth into your work and your relationships and generating such a huge movement of generosity and connectedness VIA the KIT list. Bob – BIG THANK YOU!!! You are the bestest!

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5 11 2010
Amy

A beautiful and inspiring story, Sue. Thanks for sharing it!

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5 11 2010
Joyce Scardina Becker, CMP

A beautiful time of the year…a wonderful time to give thanks. I hope your inspirational story makes its way to Washington DC. Our parents’ generation needs to be our guiding light.

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5 11 2010
Ro Carbone

Wow, how wonderful is this?! What gratitude must fill you for the great fortune of having such a beautiful guy for a Dad. Happiness, health, friends and fun to you and your family, always, Sue.

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5 11 2010
Lisa Spivey

Your story should be an inspiration for us all. Thanks for sharing, and best wishes to your family!

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5 11 2010
Margaret Pfeiffer

Hi Sue–Thanks for sharing your family story with us. I always knew that a person of your great character and spirit must have some pretty amazing parents! It’s great that you’ve taken the time to acknowledge your dad in this way (and I’m sure he is SO proud of you.) Like you, I feel blessed to have my dear parents still with us (dad is 91, mom is 86). Enjoy every moment! (and share the secret of the Connelly Manhattan! 🙂

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5 11 2010
JoAnne Auerbach

Sue, Your dad is a wonderful person and this is a special way to know you as a person. Over the years, every communication I’ve had from you is positive and upbeat but realistic, showing your special outlook on life and willingness to help others.

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5 11 2010
Deb McClanahan

Thanks for sharing so much of your Dad’s story. Now we know more of what a treasure he is. We already knew about you :^)

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5 11 2010
Deb McClanahan

Thanks for sharing so much of your Dad’s story, Sue. This is very inspiring. Now we all know how much of a treasure he is. We already knew about you :^)

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5 11 2010
Alan Holdship

What a great way to start a new Friday morning! Thanks Sue.

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5 11 2010
Marcia

What a great post! Thanks for sharing this inspirational story about your dad and the values you learned from him. He must be very proud of you.

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5 11 2010
Caitlin

Love this post Sue! Grandad truly is a special person! Hope you have a wonderful time with them this weekend! It was great to trick or treat with you! 🙂

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5 11 2010
Monique Hodgkinson

Your dad sounds like he was a wonderful person that really blessed everyone he met. Thanks for sharing this story.

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5 11 2010
Elyse Tager

Wonderful post, Sue, and a wonderful story about your Dad. Thanks for sharing it.

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5 11 2010
Ken Davis 4marketeers.com

Sue, I’ve known you for 12 years now and see your Dad’s spirit in you. Luckily my Dad inspired me much like yours. Before passing last year at age 94 he proclaimed “I sure got my money’s worth!”.

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5 11 2010
Vera Gibson

Thank you for sharing, I am truly touched and inspired. My parents had similar up bringing so I relate to your father’s story, an to your inspiration. Thank you for caring…

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5 11 2010
C Miller

What a wonderful tribute to a great dad!

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5 11 2010
Sheila Honeycutt

What a lovely and inspiring story, Thank you for sharing this with us,
Have a wonderful weekend,

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