Brenda and I first met at my first IFVP Board Strategy retreat in D.C., in November of 2015. The instant we met, Brenda and I recognized sisterhood in the other.
If you know me, you know that I am very silly, making jokes and faces, and generally having fun. That is one of my mottos in life, to have fun. Brenda had the same motto. Within a few hours of meeting at our first session of scheduled meetings, the two of us were cracking jokes and building on each other’s fun-making to amuse our co-Directors and break up the monotony of hard work and thinking about milestones, metrics, and other delightfully dry things.
At meals, we sat together and shared stories about our work, lives, upbringing, perspectives, families and sharing secrets. Once we realized we were both cooks and spent a great deal of time thinking about what we’d eat next, we shared our favorite recipes and meals. I’ve not ordered Singapore noodles since that night when she shared recommendations on how to make it “right” in her words. I make it at home now and no restaurant’s recipe can compare to the tweaks Brenda gave me.
When it came to work, Brenda was a powerhouse. She was stalwart in her commitment to the visual practitioner community and its needs. If you search Brenda Tan on the Graphic Facilitation page on Facebook, her posts go back to 2012. She often led conversations and was exceptionally insightful about visual practitioner - and IFVP member - needs. She demonstrated her passion for the work of facilitation and communication by being present and building on the ideas of the group. She was not a disrupter, but a collaborative builder. She was inspiring to listen to when she spoke of those moments when we can see the collective light turn on for the groups we facilitate. She dreamt up incredible ideas and knew how to make them real. She just wanted to do things, knew how to do those things and operated at a level far beyond the rest of us. She was always 15 miles ahead of everyone else, I thought. She was simply put, a visual practitioner and an #IFVPmember with a passion for the field and the profession.
Thinking back on my time with her as a friend and as a colleague, I found her brilliant, authentic, intelligent, sharply witted, and shiny. I loved her the moment I met her. We stayed in touch over the years and often chatted about her cancer journey and my mother’s Alzheimer's journey. Her commitment to God and her faith in the Creator was impressive and inspiring to me. I am not exaggerating when I write I will miss her. Creating a scholarship in her name to help build up the Asian markets is the best tribute the IFVP can make to our friend, cheerleader, and guardian angel.
Rest well, friend. See you on the other side.
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