Carol Benson, one of my fellow founders of Glenbrook Partners, is retiring at the end of June, following our other founder, Scott Loftesness, who retired four years ago. It seems like only a few years ago (certainly less than 20) that the entire company fit in one car with room for my dog sharing the back seat.
Carol has been at the forefront of Glenbrook throughout our 20-year journey. The firm started because Carol, who was also a “lone wolf” consultant at the time, landed a project that was just too big for one person. She roped Scott and me in, and it just felt right. Soon after that we hung out the proverbial shingle. Carol volunteered to be Glenbrook’s first Managing Partner despite knowing full-well that being Managing Partner had nothing to do with managing the partners.
Carol was the one among us who stepped up to turn a few workshop slides into our Payments Boot Camp® program, which is now an integral part of Glenbrook and the whole payments industry, with some 23,000 professionals having attended one of our sessions.
As I sat down to write this post, I tried my best to collect my thoughts in a 2×2 matrix. In Carol’s mind, any problem that exists can be framed in a 2×2 for solving (as long as it isn’t in the default Calibri font rather than our trademark Avenir).
Particularly in the last 10 years of her wonderful career, Carol operated in the coveted upper-right quadrant of the strategy consulting matrix. Beyond teaching all of Glenbrook how to create frameworks, her greatest impact has been, and will continue to be for years to come, advancing financial inclusion, literally, all over the world. She has made dozens and dozens of trips all over Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and beyond, helping the world’s leading NGOs, central banks, regulators, and other constituencies develop and implement frameworks that are being built today. In the years to come, literally millions of people (who have no idea who she is) will benefit from her tireless work on their behalf.
As Carol rides off with pride into the Portland sunset, all of us at Glenbrook will miss her dearly. We’ll miss her frameworks, her independent thinking, heartfelt coaching, and her constant encouragement to pursue what is interesting to each of us. We will think of her on a daily basis whenever we invoke what has become a cherished inside joke at Glenbrook, the highest compliment that can be bestowed upon a colleague: “Good Dog!”
It’d be great if you could share your thoughts and congratulations in the Comments section below. Thank you!