I am a social psychologist who, for the past 30 years, has been employed as a trial/jury consultant. Along the way and across the years, I have worked with many people, including several colleagues who have become long term friends. One of the most influential colleagues with whom I have ever worked is Dr. Susan Broome. Susan and I met 30 years ago, when we were both beginning our careers as trial consultants at the premier consulting company, Litigation Sciences, Inc. (LSI). At the time we started our long journey in the occupation in which we are both still employed, neither Susan nor I had any way to know where our lives would take us. I was hired by LSI to work in the Atlanta office which, at the time I was hired, was under construction. LSI, then the world’s top trial consulting company (on every matrix used to measure corporations), had offices throughout the United States. I was assigned to work in the Boston office until the construction of the Atlanta office was completed. Susan and I were hired at the same time, during a period of rapid expansion by the company, and she was hired to work in the Boston office. It was soon decided we would be trained by a long time employee of the company, who would soon thereafter become LSI’s Director of Research. My travel and work schedules were, to say the least, hectic. Every Monday, I would catch the earliest flight from Atlanta to Boston, to begin my work week. From Boston, I traveled with the rest of our team to wherever we worked, often traveling to our company’s headquarters in Los Angeles, among other places. We worked long hours on the biggest cases being tried across the nation then, on Friday, I took the latest flight from Boston to Atlanta, had an action packed weekend, then repeated the travel/work cycle the next week. For the first few weeks I worked in Boston, I stayed in a hotel near my office. Then, fortune, in the likeness of Dr. Susan Broome, smiled on me! Susan and I got along well in the office and during our travels and she asked me if I would like to stay at her house during the rest of my time in Boston. She has a lovely home in a Boston suburb and, as luck would have it, she had extra space due to her children’s recent departure for college. Lucky me! Not only did I get to live in a home environment, eat Susan’s delicious home cooked meals, and leave some of my clothes and other items behind when I traveled back and forth, I made a new friend! I have looked back at this time in my life many times over the years and I always marvel at Susan’s kindness in opening her home, and her personal life, to me, a complete stranger. Susan’s generosity is unsurpassed among anyone I know, including lifelong friends and family. Needless to say, we have remained friends for 30 years and, when I count my blessings, she is always at the top of my list!
Some people in life teach you things they don’t even appreciate they are teaching. Sometimes this is done by example. Melissa observed that Susan purchased bouquets of fresh flowers each week, which brought some color to her home in the dreary winter world of Boston. Melissa started doing this when we lived in Atlanta, which had its own share of gray winter days. And, she/we continue to do it today even in our often colorful world in south Florida. Flowers are usually on the top of our regular shopping lists! I must say they do brighten our world. And they sometimes become photo subjects for me, especially the more exotic ones. It was quite a while after Melissa moved beyond LSI that I met and got to know Susan. And, it has been personally fun to get to know her and professionally rewarding to be able to have Susan join in on many of our large scale mock jury research projects. Sometimes we need to ramp up and she is a willing resource to us and our clients. She provides some extra bench strength and, in that she and Melissa have the same foundational background, Susan is a great addition to our team. One never knows where connections might lead. Who knew that Melissa’s and Susan’s connection all those years ago would last well beyond the company for whom they worked at the time? And, it goes to show the importance of building networks and resources when operating a business, small or large, because the confidence you can have in someone you have known, worked with, and in this case, lived with, can serve you well over a career or lifetime.