I found myself thinking about my Grandpa Don during the COVID-19 quarantine.
Grandpa Don joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 and became a commissioned officer on the destroyer USS Welles. Between August 1944 and August 1945, the Welles provided support in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Grandpa Don was in the opening assault at Leyte Gulf, considered to be the largest naval battle of World War II in the Pacific.
Grandpa Don practiced law before shifting to a career in the retail industry. He was the owner and president of Werner-Hilton, a men’s clothing chain founded in St. Louis in 1919 by his father-in-law, Julius Werner. The last of the chain of five stores closed in 1984.
He truly reinvented himself in retirement. Grandpa Don painted, sketched, wrote poetry, and even self-published a few poetry books. You won’t find these poems at any bookstore because each edition was created by hand. He wrote, designed, printed, and trimmed each page in the spare bedroom of his condo. He never intended to make a dime. He just loved to create.
When I joined a rock band in high school, Grandpa Don became our biggest (and likely only) fan. He designed our promotional fliers and paid for us to record a demo in a professional studio. Looking back, I think he just wanted to encourage my creative side.
Inspired by his creativity, I wrote a few blog posts about things I learned while working in the technology industry. I tried to tie each story back to a specific individual as a way of thanking them for their support and the lessons I learned along the way.
I eventually wrote enough of these blogs that I decided to self-publish a book. This book is a collection of stories I’ve captured over my 10 years as an IT leader. My hope is that you can turn to any chapter for a quick, yet comprehensive leadership lesson. I look forward to receiving my first copy and placing it alongside one of my grandpa’s handcrafted poetry books.
If you’d like to purchase a copy of my book, it is available for sale on Amazon.