So many special people in my career and life contributed to the completion of this book. I doubt anyone writes a book without the support, encouragement, and contribution of others.
I would like to thank Michael Russell who over the past several years patiently worked on this project with me, providing research, editing, and ideas for illustrating concepts and stories. At the beginning of the summer my friend and fellow writer Linda Ruocco joined the project. Linda is one of those people who have a way with words. Thank you for your sage advice, for playing the devil’s advocate and for the late nights of editing to get each chapter just right.
I could not have hit all of my deadlines were it not for Maria Zorzos, affectionately known among the fassforward team as the nagarator, Jess Gozur, and Mary Kinney who just kept plodding along beside her to help me move things along. I also extend my deepest appreciation to the fassforward team, who endured many edits and artistic changes, and were a constant sounding board when I was blocked. Thank you Aaron Porter for graphically capturing my words in the illustrative sketchnotes created to conclude the book.
So much of this book was inspired by the work my partner Gavin McMahon and I have done over the past twelve years; thank you Gavin for being an extraordinary partner and friend.
I thank my dear friend Kevin Allen for introducing me to the publisher, the process, and for being a kindred spirit.
This book would not have been as rich without the contribution of colleagues and clients that took the time out of their busy schedules for interviews and allow me to use our work together in stories throughout the book.
I thank my husband Ron Fass for standing by me for over thirty-five years and for being my biggest fan throughout this process. I also acknowledge our beautiful son, Zachary, for bringing out the best in both of us, thank you Zach for the late night discussions and your candid feedback.
In conclusion, I want to acknowledge Bill McDermott and thank him for writing the Foreword of The Chocolate Conversation. Bill encouraged me to write my book. It seemed only fitting that he kick it off . . . The thing that stands out most in my mind whenever I talk with or about Bill McDermott is the depth of his humanity. Throughout his professional career I have never known him to be too busy to take a phone call or to have a conversation with someone who needed to talk with him. He has always put people first, built great teams, brought out the best in everyone he touches, and over–achieved lofty goals. Bill is a winner and he makes everyone around him a winner too. He gets that personal leadership, market leadership, and real change all happen in the conversation.