Readers, there is A LOT I can say about the last 10 years here at the Agents of Good. But most importantly, I want to thank you for being part of this gongshow. Our readers, clients, colleagues, family and friends are the reason we love what we do and nothing we do would be possible without our community. Thank you, Agents of Good far and wide!
But today, as we prepare to gather with our friends and colleagues for our annual #AOGSocial, I want to tell you all a story that only a very few in our Agents family know. And it goes back to a critical moment in our very, very early days.
Even though it’s our 10 year anniversary, John and I have been collaborating for over 20 years. As freelancers, we would often call on each other for projects and also just for help and support. We’ve raised our families together and we’ve grown up as fundraisers together.
Making the decision to join forces was the easiest business decision I’ve ever made. John always had a curiosity and discipline around the “business” side of our work that does not come naturally to me. I just want to tell stories and walk my dog. But John works at our business with attention and intention and I’m deeply and eternally grateful.
As you can probably imagine, incorporating our business was agonizing for me. Sitting in board rooms with lawyers and accountants who would talk more slowly and add more contemplative pauses every 14 minutes to get over the 15 minute billable mark, talking about clauses and playing out disaster scenarios is not how I want to spend my time. See above re. stories and dogs. So, I know that I was if not downright petulant, at least irritable about the process. But John was equal parts patient and pushy, helping me work through things so that what we had on paper for our partnership agreement matched what was in our hearts (everything…EVERY DAMN THING…is 50/50).
We are truly equal partners. Every decision, every new job, every expense, every donation, every sponsorship…is something we share. I would not have it any other way.
But here’s where I’m going with this story. A moment of truth frozen in my heart forever.
We are down to the wire with our articles of incorporation and endless paperwork. Our advisors explain that, even though we are 100% equal partners, for the sake of the papers, we need to have 2 positions: a Secretary and a President. The titles are meaningless, they say, because we will be sharing everything. But we just have to assign the titles.
First thing that goes through my head was, “NO FUCKING WAY am I the Secretary”. I know it’s meaningless, but language really matters to me and “Secretary” is a loaded term for women of a certain age.
Before I even had a chance to turn my head and look at John, from the chair beside me I hear the unmistakable sound of a pen clicking. I turn to John, and his eyes are kind and playful, but also determined. He says, simply, “Madam President” and hands me the pen.
He knew. He f*cking knew! He knew that, even if it’s meaningless, it’s meaningful to me. And that’s all he needed to know. And that’s all I ever need to know about him.
Of course, as you absolutley would if you were me, only now and again do I pull rank on our titles. And when I do, I can’t see his eyes because he’s rolling them into the back of his skull.
John, here’s to forever more years. You’re legit the best of the best.