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A Tribute to Cecilia Galvin: Lessons Learned from an Amazing Life

Cecilia Galvin of ChannelPro with Hughes Agency’s Eliza Bostian at SYNNEX Inspire.
Photo credit:  Mike Burton Photography

By Amanda Long, Senior Account Director

On Thursday evening, I learned one of my dearest friends in the IT channel died peacefully in her sleep.  Cecilia Galvin, executive editor of ChannelPro, was one of those people who you felt lucky to know.  She was smart, witty and kind.  If you were really lucky, she was also your friend.  Over the seven years we knew each other, she taught me a lot, both personally and professionally. Here are a few of the ones that are most important to me.

Show up for your kids.

I can’t remember how many times when working out schedules for her to come to my client’s events, she said she couldn’t leave until later in the day because her girls had a gymnastics competition.  While work is important, she knew what was even more important – showing up and supporting her kids at the important milestones in their lives.  While you may not be able to make every single event, try really hard to make sure your absence is not the norm.  I learned by watching her that it was possible to have a great career and be the kind of mom your kids need you to be.  You just have to be the one to set those boundaries.

And while we are on the subject, be present.

When you would talk with Cecilia, you always had her full attention.  In today’s distracted world, it’s easy to check your phone or look around while talking with someone.  I always felt like she cared about what I was saying because she stayed focused on the conversation and ask questions that showed me she heard what I was saying.  She also gave great advice when I needed it, even if it was hard to hear. That is the hallmark of a true friend.

Be first, but make sure you’re also the best.

In my opinion, one of Cecilia’s coolest professional accomplishments was that she was the first and only female editor of Popular Science magazine.  She blazed a trail in a male-dominated field and rose to the top.  She was fair and honest. She was great at what she did and it paid off.

Be respectful and kind.

In reading through all the posts on social media about her passing, it is clear that Cecilia extended the same grace to everyone she met.  While I am not surprised, it does show how genuine she was.  It wasn’t just for show.  It also proves that the old saying “nice guys finish last” doesn’t hold water.  She was as good as they come and she was at the top.

Never stop learning, but don’t be a know-it-all.

In the technology field, you can never know everything because change is constant.  Cecilia had an insatiable curiosity, and while she was an expert, she never pretended to know everything and was always open to learn from the people she interviewed and those she worked with. And they respected her for that.

Enjoy the simple things in life, and don’t forget to laugh.

Whether it was family time, a good glass of wine and conversation with friends, or just being thankful for what she had, Cecilia always knew that the most important things in life were the ones right in front of her.  She had the biggest heart and knew how to make people laugh with her quick-witted humor.  While she was serious about her work, she didn’t take herself too seriously.  She knew how to have fun.

How do you want to be remembered?

Today I received the latest issue of ChannelPro, the magazine that she put her heart and soul into each month.  It was like she was saying goodbye to us all.  And reminding us that while we may not want it to sometimes, life does go on.

What I will remember most about her is that she had her priorities straight. She was an amazing and dedicated mother and wife. She made everyone she met feel important, valued and respected. She had professionalism down to a science. She took pride in her work. She was a true friend.

Maya Angelou encapsulates my thoughts on Cecilia best. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I will never forget you Cecilia.  You were one in a million. The world is a little less bright without you in it.