Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I hope you are each preparing to spend the holiday with family and loved ones. My hometown is Decatur, Alabama and my family will be gathering there on Thanksgiving to celebrate. I’ve hosted my family’s Thanksgiving meal the last TEN years, so I am definitely looking forward to being a guest at this year’s meal.
The notion of preparing a meal for others and in turn, being a guest at a meal; has a deeper meaning for me this year. I saw a note on Facebook earlier today regarding Ruthie Powell, the creator of Ruthie’s List or as it was originally known, The Ruthie List. Ruthie was a pioneer in social platform networking, creating a yahoo list-serv to link thousands of recruiters and HR professionals across the country to one another to make referrals. Ruthie is an accomplished sourcer, recruiter, and speaker and has helped countless individuals to connect to new opportunities.
Sadly, I learned today that Ruthie is no longer working, as she is battling Parkinson’s Disease. Her husband Alan is her full-time caretaker and her illness has had a devastating impact on their financial health. A GoFundMe page has been created to help defray the expenses of her care.
The irony that she “set” the table of social referrals both in the Atlanta HR community and nationally is not lost on me. For years, she sought to build a community for each of us, to feed us employment opportunities and help us to network with one another. She found joy and fulfillment in serving others in much the same way that we will celebrate Thanksgiving this week and the fruits of our labor.
So, I call on this community to do a few things. First, check out her GoFundMe page and consider making a donation. No amount is too small. Second, please consider sharing her story within your personal social networks. Last, let’s work together to reimagine how Ruthie’s List might be reborn as a social networking group. While Ruthie’s List has a home on Facebook, the group seems to communicate primarily via email. There could be an opportunity to enlarge the audience reached by her mission if we incorporated the Facebook group.
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In a way, I feel Ruthie’s story is all of our stories – the impact of her work leaves a profound, indelible mark on the lives of others. I hope that we all may set a table to feed others and celebrate the bounty of our work. Likewise, most of us also know the struggle of working towards a personal mission and how much the kindness and grace of others fortify us as we pursue our goals. Small gestures, like a kind word of encouragement, can be all someone needed to soldier on in their day. Be the person that extends the kindness and recognize the impact bestowing kindness can have on you as the giver.
I wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving. I am personally so thankful for this community and the impact you have had on me and my career. Take care of one another and best wishes this holiday season as we welcome 2017.