Leaving a Lasting Legacy: Part II
by Lori Tomoyasu McGee
Lori was married to Liam McGee. Liam was the Chairman/CEO of The Hartford when he retired prematurely due to brain cancer. Determined to share his life lessons, he devoted his Next Season to mentoring first-time CEOs of not-for-profits, wrote and published white papers on business leadership topics, and secured joint faculty appointments in the Colleges of Business and Law at his alma mater.
Leaving a Lasting Legacy may sound straightforward, but this goal can become even more impactful and meaningful when conversations are shared with a spouse, family member, or business partner, and the goal is achieved together.
For my late husband, Liam, who embarked on his Next Season while courageously battling cancer, discussions about his legacy and “Making a Difference” beyond his corporate success were enhanced by working with Leslie at My Next Season. She was able to direct and counsel him about professorships at universities, and she helped orchestrate the capturing of his valuable experiences on paper and the strategic placement of articles in several business publications. Leslie was instrumental in keeping Liam’s voice “alive” even after he passed.
This direction of “Making a Difference” also fueled me to focus on honoring his legacy by living Liam’s motto—Strive for Greatness—a top leadership lesson he exemplified during his corporate career. Our family decided to partner with the National Cancer Center to help launch a brain tumor research fund in his honor.
Great strides have been made toward extended and improved quality of life for patients. I am also blessed to volunteer at that Center to assist families living with cancer throughout their journey. It brings me great peace and joy to know that I am working toward Liam’s legacy of impacting others.
Even before his retirement, my husband and I engaged in thoughtful and intentional discussions about leaving a lasting legacy. If we had not done this, I would not have as much clarity about next steps. Liam had already left his mark as a visionary leader in business, but now, hopefully, his impact is helping those challenged by cancer or adversity.
I encourage everyone to thoughtfully think about furthering their lasting impact in their “Next Season” and to discuss this with someone who can help them achieve it. Perhaps their corporate platform was a mere springboard to leaving an even broader legacy beyond their corporate success—a broader legacy that could include conversations about supporting underrepresented students by sponsoring them or tutoring them, or mentoring someone who is starting their career in an industry where they have expertise, or possibly launching a new career with a particular social cause.
Keep moving forward, keep making a difference, and always Strive for Greatness!