An unexpected goodbye
Last week, we lost one of the greats. Suzanne West was a leader in the energy sector globally, and carried service and impact in her heart until her final days. She was a leader I admired for years, and she surprised me by agreeing to be interviewed for Dream, Girl four years ago on a whim. This week's newsletter is dedicated to her.
Thank you Suzanne. Thank you for reminding me of what goodness and passion personified look like. I remember the infectious nature of your energy and courage. How you decided to transform the energy sector after a week on Necker Island with Richard Branson. How you raised $200 million to do so, and how at every moment of low and hardship we experienced throughout our Dream, Girl journey, you showed up for us without hesitation.
I first 'met' Suzanne when I cold-called her from a taxi cab in New York after one of our first days of filming. We had interviewed a few badass women and I knew in my gut Suzanne had to join our all-star roster. So my car navigated its way to the Upper East Side, I called the number I had saved in my phone months earlier (I'd wanted to reach out to her for a while, and saved it for when I was ready).
It went to voicemail, so I left her a message sharing our story about the film, the Kickstarter, and how I wanted the film to have more Canadian representation, and that it had to be her. I hung up, unsure of what to expect next. My phone rang minutes later and it was her.
I sent her the Kickstarter trailer for the film, and she said right then and there that she was in. She also happened to be in New York meeting with her investor's the following week and she had a gap in her schedule that corresponded with a gap in the filming schedule. The synchronicity was astounding.
She joined Erin and the crew on set the following week, and walked alongside us through the entire DG journey. When we needed sponsorship for our NYC premiere, she threw down funds immediately. She joined us at the White House premiere, and began a filmmaking partnership and friendship that night with our Executive Producer, Bous de Jong. She also sent the most beautiful words of wisdom to Erin, Kylie, and Diana when I had to leave the company last January, I'd like to share part of what she wrote here:
"Choice is what you always have :). We have no control over many things in our life journey - but at the beginning of each day, no matter what, we all get to make a choice... a choice of how to live that day. Will we choose to hide in the shadows of fear or will we excitedly choose put on our armour and sword and go slay some dragons? Will we choose to allow our thoughts to be plagued by the negative or will we choose to REFUSE to be sucked into the void of "I can't"? Will we believe what others say or will we believe what our heart knows to be true? Will we choose to see the world as a place where there is lack or will we choose to see a world full of incredible possibilities and abundance?"
This was Suzanne. She always saw the light -- the greatness. For herself, the people around her, and the world.
Suzanne, I will never forget you. I will hold you in my heart as we continue to do this light work. We've gained an incredible guardian angel.
I want to end with words she shared in her final days (thank you for sharing them, Bous).
"Remember we are capable of such greatness, but we have to be brave and do the things that the world needs us to do. Be the warrior I see in each of you. I will always be watching over you. Love, Suzanne."
We love you, Suzanne. Until we meet again.