We all have bosses that shape us in one way or another and Dame Helen Alexander was a boss who taught me that it was possible to be kind, thoughtful and a leader at the same time. The BBC’s obituary sums up Dame Helen beautifully.
I had the pleasure and privilege of working directly for Helen when I was appointed the first in-house Global Communications Director for The Economist Group in 2000.
I have lots of Helen stories and memories but perhaps the one that’s stayed with me over the years and the story I often tell is when I met Helen for the very first time when she interviewed me for the role. Her office was on the 13th floor of The Economist building off Jermyn Street. The building was imposing for the likes of me and like everyone going for an interview I was nervous.
Helen interviewed me early on a winter morning and I remember when I got out of the lift Helen was waiting to receive me at the lift…and after my interview she escorted me back to the lift, waited for it to arrive and saw that I got in okay. That small act made me feel special, that in spite of her busy schedule, Helen had time for me, an interviewee. I remember saying to her as I got in, shaking her hand that if I didn’t get the job, it was still such a pleasure to meet her.
It’s always the little things that matter, we remember…RIP Helen
Photo Credit: BBC