Article on the tragic death of my former colleague: http://bit.ly/UV2hL7
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My first job out of college was working the swing-shift on the helpdesk of a little media company called Premier Retail Networks. The pay was not anything to brag about, the hours were horrible, and I commuted 90 minutes each way, every day.
Every day, when I got off my shift in the morning (usually disheveled and tired), I would often run into this woman walking out of the elevator in her way to work. She was usually the first person to walk into the office, and like clock-work, the doors would open, she greeted me with a huge smile, ready to start her day. Later, I would learn, this person was Natalie Egleston, a tenacious VP in charge of PRN’s Checkout TV Network.
Natalie probably didn’t remember those days, but I do — because she left such an impression on me: How can someone walk into work so early AND be awake AND be so happy doing it? Later, I would find out that not only was she the first one in the office, she was usually the last one out. It was this work ethic and dedication that, undoubtedly, contributed to her meteoric rise to PRN’s executive ranks: from VP, SVP, EVP, and eventually Chief Strategy Officer.
As I grew into my product development career at PRN, I had the opportunity to get to know Natalie and work closely with her over the next six years. Almost every month, it seemed, I would find myself on a plane with her and other PRNers to a meeting that would either make or break the company. There were many times where we would find ourselves holed up in our satellite offices, working on the presentation deck or demo until 1:00 am the night before the meeting — because everything HAD TO BE PERFECT.
Often times, Natalie’s perfectionism prevailed. And while I only played a small/junior role in these meetings with our customers, I was fortunate enough to learn and observe — first hand — how business was done, by watching Natalie dazzle in these meetings. Our customers loved her because of her boundless energy. Competitors feared her because of her sharp wit and tenacity. She always knew exactly what to say and how to say it — and watching her work was simply inspiring.
Depending on how these meetings went, we would either be sadly eating airport/hotel food or celebrating with bottles of wine at a nice Italian restaurant. And when it came time to debrief the meeting in her BRIGHT YELLOW painted office (the color yellow made her “happy”), we would spend the first 30 minutes laughing about the most random crap that happened on the trip — “Did you see that huge stain on his shirt?” “Man that guy was really sweaty.” “Her shoes did not match her outfit.” She was hilarious.
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I learned so much from Natalie and I am sad that she is no longer with us. She had a brilliant mind, people-savvy, and personality to get anything done — and she could have gone on to do even more amazing things in her career. She was taken away far too soon.
I will miss you Natalie. Thank you for everything.