Last Wednesday evening in New York City, the vivacious Robin Carey played the consummate hostess at Social Media Today's holiday party. Laughing about the homemade snacks, graciously introducing her broad circle of admirers to one another and excitedly discussing the year ahead, it was as if you were in her home not a shared office meeting space. Though it was a relatively small gathering, there were a number of people I consider marketing heavy weights like David Berkowitz, Paul Dunay and Augie Ray, who found the time to show up because Robin was that kind of magnet for talent. Who wouldn't want to be around such kinetic energy, someone who personified the dynamism of our industry?
Knowing I had to leave the party early, I made sure to talk to Robin right away. She was excited about the revenue growth at SMT, trying new things at Social Shake Up 2016 and more in character pressed me on ways she could help me. This wasn't a casual just making conversation kind of ask. She really meant it, volunteering a number of ideas before I could even put one of my own on the table. It was this "give first" approach that distinguished Robin from just about anyone I know and made you want to not just reciprocate but really think about how you could do more for others.
Saying my goodbyes, Robin walked me to the elevator; a gesture totally unnecessary but completely consistent with her "make you feel special" nature. Again she pressed for things she could add to her to do list for me. Who does either of those things? I rushed off to my next appointment, carrying a bit of her goodwill but mainly in awe of someone who just didn't seem to be bound by the restrictions most of us put on our time and energy for others.
To say that I was dumbfounded by the news of Robin's death is the understatement of the decade. As the posts and tributes on Facebook rolled in, I found myself speechless and devastated. Suddenly that short time together at the party just two days before grew in importance, like an uncovered treasure, as I tried to find perspective, running through all the clichés about life being short and living in the moment and taking nothing for granted.
If you are really lucky in life you get to know a few people like Robin Carey. People who inspire you to be your best self, who engage with everyone around them, who bring us together, who propel an entire industry forward, who lead by example and who clearly have fun while doing all the above. She was all that and at no risk of hyperbolizing, she was more. I know my life was much richer for knowing her and is much poorer in her tragic passing. My heart goes out to her family and friends.