Marta hadn’t said anything, so JoAnn asked her what she was thinking. I’ll never forget her initial reaction.
“I’m glad,” she said. “It really wasn’t the best thing for either of them.”
That was it. Marta was not one to mince words or to waste them. Marta saw it immediately and, like us, was forever changed. She knew that it was more than the right thing to do. She recognized the power of what we were saying. She knew this was a transformational moment for her as well.
Marta was from Chicago and had worked all her life, mostly in office jobs for small companies. She had served as a gal Friday, and often it was just Marta and the owner working together in a room. She had watched what owners worried about and how they set their priorities. Months later, she told us that about the only time these businesspeople cared about the customers was when there was a complaint to resolve—and that even then they seldom strayed from what was best for them. She told us that one man she’d worked for in Chicago actually said that customers were a necessary evil.
But on this day she had little to say, just that it was the right thing to do. It wasn’t until a week or two later that I realized how much of an impact this had made on Marta. It became a part of her daily language. In almost every situation, she started asking what was best for the client. She became our reminder. She believed it to her core, and she infected all of us.
Susan accepted a position as a music director ...