This morning we are heading to “celebrate the life” of two of Signature’s most accomplished and patient leaders who passed away last week within 24 hours of each other. These moments are challenging because my mind drifts to three emotional themes – What is personal legacy really about? Why do we grieve so hard when we know where they are both headed? How do you replace two of the best peers that you have ever worked with?
I remember the first time I laid eyes on Annette Jansenius as part of a complicated Brookwood transaction about which she had hesitation when our team entered her world. She liked her world the way it was but soon embraced the Signature Revolution, helped us raise the bar on the ideologies behind our social movement so much that we all fell in love with her quest for excellence. It never mattered to Annette how much money she made personally but if anything was being measured as an organization than Courtyard was going to be #1. How can we teach that attribute? How can other leaders grasp the full understanding of their spiritual stewardship obligation? It is a quest for excellence that becomes a powerful vocation for all. We just need to embrace it.
From my point of view, there are so many great qualities about each leader that I could write about for days but for this reflection I wanted to pick two. If Annette was about passion and excellence, then Pam was about servant leadership and total humility.
It seems like yesterday when we found Pam Jowers as the leader of the famed St Peters Campus in Memphis that Signature acquired almost four years ago. She led her team for almost two decades to become one of the most accomplished healthcare teams in the entire city. Whatever role Pam assumed it was accomplished with total servant leadership and never with the thought of “I” only we. Our St Peters campus is the talk of Memphis because it is going through transformation as we speak. Pam gave her life to her service work, and once the Revolution knocked on her door she accepted like she was always part of us even before we knew her.
This year she may have sensed something spiritual going on because she took her vacations, took her precious daughter on “once in a lifetime trips”, and when her aggressive illness hit she made peace with it quicker than most knowing that she had lived her life as an instrument of The Lord having mercy and compassion in her encounters while planting thousands of mustard seeds along the way.
This is a very hard and sad day for me and my team but I know as a witness of God that both amazing women are flying through the sky to sign with the angels because they lived lives that should be a reminder of three things – use your gifts to the best of your ability, feed your sheep before yourself, and always lead like you have one day left.
We cheered, prayed, and cried often over the past years, but learned three great lessons from Stephen that we all cherish today.