Duana Linville-Dralus had the best laugh. She was a completely irresistible, throw-your-head-back-and-roar kind of woman -- one of the best people who ever walked this planet. And she was my mentor, which makes me one of the luckiest people who ever walked this planet.
Feb. 1 was Du's birthday, so today is the perfect time for me to cherish the memory of that laugh, and share three of my favorite answers to the question I still ask myself: "What would Du do?"
- If you can help someone, help them. Whether or not they can help you in return is completely immaterial. (Du helped me before she knew who I was or what I did. I was just a young woman in serious need of assistance.)
- Be true to yourself. (Du was the first woman leader I knew who was wholeheartedly who she was all the time. She wasn't a different person in the boardroom than she was in her kitchen.)
- Do something nice every day. (One of the nice things Du did was simple, but powerful: She kept money in her pocket. That way, she was always ready to give to people in need.)
When Duana's cancer came back full force, people would periodically ask her, "Are you going to die?" (That is not an alternative fact. I was there when it happened. Several times.) Her response was always the same, "Yep! But not today. Not today. So, let's do something!"
Today, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to open the bottle of champagne I keep in the fridge, because she believed in always being ready for a celebration. I'm going to toast Deb and Doug, for sharing their mom with me. I'm going to toast Maureen and the rest of our group, for being part of an amazing sisterhood. And I'm going to toast Duana, a remarkable woman whose memory is now, and shall always be, a blessing.