This is probably not a rambling… it is a heartfelt tribute to Janett Chambers.
I met Janett in 2005, she was the project manager for a client I was trying to work with. Then she started working part-time for us and eventually became full time in 2006. She had a demeanor that even some of the customers were scared of… which came from experience, attention to detail and overall confidence. Some customers wanted to change project manager since she tried to keep them honest. Even I sometimes used wonder who worked for whom…
In 2007 she accepted to take the role of Director of Development and probably created most of the structure we have now in India office. Her contribution to getting things organized is invaluable. In 2008 May when we moved the offices to Jacksonville, she didn’t make the move, because she was not comfortable in being part of the bigger group I was joining… we kept in touch now and then. She went on to become part of a Traffic Systems company in Scottsdale and was traveling a bit…
Before I moved back to Arizona in 2011 Jan, I found out she was not working because of an illness and didn’t have many details. I tried to contact her via Facebook and one email I had and after a few months finally got in touch with her around October 2011. I met with her in person and noticed she is a little weaker physically but had the same personality and openness to life. I heard her stories of her struggle with Cancer (details omitted due to personal respect).. and I didn’t realize that she is still going through regular treatment and not in remission.
She started her own company to be a Life Coach and wanted to work with me on a couple of projects. That re-engagement has become one of crucial turning points of my career. Our sessions were intense, she was able to get me to refocus on my goals and motivation. Since then, I was able to get the Training Institute I wanted going, Expanded the office and went from 20 then to 40 currently and changed our approach to customers and projects.
Her next biggest contribution came in November 2011, when she came to Cabo with the other project managers we had at that time and worked with everyone on dealing with customers, situations, creating structure, etc. I think we had a couple of breakthroughs for people during that week. She was weak, still dealing with Cancer and not able to stay up late, but did her best to engage. She I traveled from Phoenix to Cabo together and when we got on the plane she said: “This is my first trip out of US in all these years (she had to get passport just for this trip) and I usually don’t trust people on what they can do, but I know you will take care of everything for us, so I decided to come”… I didn’t realize the importance of that statement till later.
After our trip she worked on a few more things and early 2012 started to wind down due to the demands of her treatments and kept in touch via emails. She used to send me emails about various topics – the last one was in March 2012 called “How to Change Perspective” – Part 2. In April, I got another email given me an update that she adjusted her new routine and would start writing again on a regular basis. I got busy with opening of new office and growth and noticed she is no longer on Facebook either. I dreaded the worst and couldn’t pull myself to call or write to her.
Then just before Christmas, her son called to talk to me a project me and Janett started working for him and he is ready to start on it again, after a few updates, I asked “I hate to ask how is your mom doing?” – and he was silent for a minute and said “Prasad I thought you knew, that Janett passed away in October. She didn’t want to have a funeral, so we didn’t make an announcement”. After that I am not sure what I talked him about, but it hit me that I lost one of my best friends, well wisher and role models… It is tough to keep it together every time I remember about her.
Her last email to me asked me to do one thing (quoted below).
“I have asked my friends and family to launch a star http://www.standup2cancer.org/ it’s only $1.00 to make it happen. I like the idea of the sky filled with my stars. You can attached to another group or start your own group.”
I still kick myself that I didn’t have a star for her in time… So my request to you is take time and fill the sky with stars for someone you care about and fighting cancer. I feel blessed that I crossed paths with Janett and may her soul rest in Peace!!