Organizations are full of hellos and good-byes as people outgrow their roles, start new adventures, or find positions that are pretty much the perfect match for them.  No matter the reason for the departure, good-byes are always bittersweet.  Today I have to say good-bye to one of my favorite colleagues, Chris Cashman, who has led our communications department for the last year and a few months.   Chris is someone who has helped me survive the last round of transitions at work.  He’s been a partner, a confidante, a cheerleader, and most importantly a friend.  This is despite the fact that I was unnecessarily rough on him during the interview process – my only excuse being that it was summer and I was 8 months pregnant.  But now he has a really cool new job at Columbia University School of Business where he’ll help them tell their powerful story to the world.   I’m really proud of him for taking this next professional step, and hope that Columbia’s leadership understands what an asset he will be to their team.

When Kevin left, I saluted him with the 10 Things I Love About Kevin Jennings.  In that same spirit – and especially because Kevin, Chris, and I were a great team – I wanted to leave you all with 6 Things To Know About Chris Cashman:

1.  He’s an analytical.  This is from People Styles at Work, which if you haven’t read, you should.  Basically, Chris was the only analytical on a team of drivers, which meant that he quite often prevented us from “ready, fire, aim” and shooting ourselves in the face.  Chris is always seeking to understand context, background, and approach in deeper ways, which makes him an excellent thought partner on any topic and a strategic thinker to boot.

2.  He’s from New Jersey.  You think this is a bad thing.  It’s not.  I’m from NJ, and I can tell you that we tell it like it his, don’t hold any punches, and aren’t afraid to use sharp elbows to get things done.  We also say things like g’head, and appreciate delicious bagels.

3.  He’s the guy you want to know during a war, a blackout, or any other bad situation.  He may not have bread and milk, but he’ll have whiskey and probably a good steak.  And he’ll also get you really nice business cards, if you are nice to him, the kind that are really thick that impress important people.

4.  He’s long-winded, but in a good way.  Chris uses all those little conversational phrases that make him sound very charming – like “In my humble opinion” or “the long and the short of it.”  He’s always telling some kind of narrative, whether it’s the story of our campaign or the story about his lunch.

5.  He can spin and snark with the best of them.  Over the last year, we’ve built up a lifelong repetory of inside jokes that will probably still make us laugh years from now.  His claws are even sharper than mine!  Chris is definitely the one you want to call when someone sends you an email that gets under your skin.  In five minutes or less, he’ll have you laughing about it.

6.  He tells it like it is, always.  You would also think this is a bad thing, but it’s not. It’s a sign he wears his heart on his sleeve and takes his professional investments personally.  I love that he isn’t afraid to speak his mind no matter what the setting, even when it risks upsetting the status quo dynamic.  Sometimes, it’s okay to lose your cool when things really matter.  And he also tells me when I need to edit posts about him. And I listen.

I know that Chris and I will work together again, and am already so grateful for his advice and support around The Enliven Project, especially over this past week.  He’s one of our earliest champions and supporters, and will be staying on as a key Enlivener moving forward.

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