How to Say Good-Bye to a Friend


(image via Teresa Teixeira)

You Need Me.” – Myrna Rothman Elgie

In August 1996, Ed Crane, a fellow mortgage broker and I, spearheaded the establishment of the first chapter of BNI in the San Francisco Bay Area.  BNI, which stands for Business Network International, is the world’s largest referral organization, founded by Dr. Ivan R. Misner in 1985.  There are weekly breakfast or lunch meetings, where members re-introduce themselves at each meeting, and give each other referrals. The resulting activity after the meetings is what actually makes a successful chapter.  Members meet, become friends and through the process refer business to one another. 

Over the years, we’ve had many members come and go, but the original core group of five members is still together.  Today we have about 30 members.  Sadly, last week we lost one to cancer.  Myrna Rothman Elgie joined our chapter about 10 years ago.  Her business card stated “Interior Design” but Myrna was more than that.  At our last meeting each of us spent 30 seconds sharing our appreciation of who she was.  Her specialty was to work with existing furniture and fixtures, to add color, plants or simply lower art work on the wall, to make any room, office or even the garden look beautiful and functional.  She re-did our living room and my study at home and lowered the pictures in my office.  Myrna’s skills and talents made her clients’ spaces more enjoyable.  Now that she is gone, I regret that I deprived many of my friends and clients of the joy they could have, if I only encouraged more of them to use Myrna’s services. 

Myrna was a spiritual person who meditated everyday. One of the BNI members told us a story; she asked Myrna how she dried her hair after showering.

Myrna replied, “I do not use a blowdryer. I only put on curlers and meditate.”

The woman asked, “And it dries?”

Myrna said, “Well, I meditate for a long time.”

Once a year, Myrna would travel to India for a few months. Upon her return, she would bring a suitcase full of beautiful scarves and sell them to BNI members. This was one of the best holiday presents.

Once a year, Myrna would travel to India for a few months. Upon her return, she would bring a suitcase full of beautiful scarves and sell them to BNI members. This was one of the best holiday presents.

Indian<br />
(image via Damon Lynch)

I do not think about Myrna when I work on my heavy desk, which we have pushed together to the right place in my study, but her life work is there.  In my 30 seconds at the BNI meeting, I said that I want my work to be like Myrna’s.  I do not want anyone to think about me after my clients get what they want or need; whether it’s a lower rate, a better mortgage, their dream house, or just peace of mind knowing that what they have is good for now.

I also said that I want to bring my friends the joy of meeting with other professionals I know, to benefit from their experience, while they and I are still alive.  As I’ve done in the past, I will write about people I know whose expertise I trust.  It can be members of BNI or any of my clients.

One of the BNI members Michael Wolfe mentioned that Myrna used to say: “You need me”.  Since she is gone, I am going to take over this statement: “YOU NEED ME.”

Michael is the owner of Blue Sky Services.  He is a general contractor, and his team has done an excellent job in big and small projects including painting and restoration.  He performed different jobs in our house and office.  Michael is also a musician and songwriter.  He delights our BNI holiday parties with his songs and guitar playing. You can reach Michael at 415-235-6227 or call me.

P.S. I took this photo from the living room of a client in Berkeley, during their house warming party.




Best Wishes,

Manny<br />