On April 6th, Larry Wilson died at age 83. As one of the thousands of people whose lives have been touched by Larry, I feel a great sense of loss…and immense gratitude.
My first real career job was at Wilson Learning. I was fortunate; WLC was filled with amazing people who were not only brilliant at creating and delivering learning programs for corporations, but also immensely willing to share what they knew and provide opportunities for growth and development to their co-workers.
Wilson Learning was the embodiment of Larry. He created an organization that not only provided a new way of thinking and working, but lived the values and skills they taught. Larry had many gifts, but his ability to enlist creative and capable people to his dreams always stood out for me.
My career—both during and after my time at Wilson Learning—is a direct result of Larry and his teams. I received wisdom and opportunity at WLC and later at Pecos River Learning Center from a long line of mentors and teachers: Jim Kirk, Polly Sander, Tom Haller, Hersch Wilson, Elizabeth Wilson, Bill Payne, Cynthia McNeil, Kathleen McCarty…the list goes on and on.
But it all was because of Larry. His energy, his creativity, his ability to see what could be and to enroll others in the vision made it all possible. He could be infuriating, changing direction at the drop of a hat. The sheer torrent of ideas that sprang from him was overwhelming at times. But in the end, he created a legacy of companies and individuals that carry on the work to this day.
On a personal level, Larry had a way of making you feel like he had come up with the greatest idea ever, and that you were crucial to its success. The fact that he could make a skeptical Norwegian get excited is perhaps as lasting a tribute as I can think of.
I remember a story of an employee at the Pecos River Ranch telling Larry, “I like me best when I’m with you.”
Didn’t we all, Larry. Didn’t we all.
Vaya con dios, my teacher. You are missed, and will live on in our hearts and our work.
Today’s Fact Cetera
I was the first Wilson Learning employee to be called for jury duty.