Chuck Lauer: A Colleague and Friend Everyone Should Know

A new book by an author named David Zweig is called "The Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion." Zweig used to work as a fact-checker at The New Republic magazine, so he knows his topic.

Zweig writes of four traits of invisibles — highly motivated professionals who find the most satisfaction in work that is critical to their organization's success but goes largely unnoticed by the public. Those traits include being ambivalent toward recognition, meticulous, responsible and well-respected — internally, of course.
 
I have had the great fortune of working closely with someone who has long occupied such a role. Her name is Cathy Fosco, and she worked with me as my administrative aide for more than a quarter century. Through all those years she has been my indispensable confidant, advisor and friend. She kept things on track for me no matter what the circumstances and still helps out sometimes when I need her, even though she is now employed elsewhere.  chucklauer
 
She started with me soon after I became the publisher of Modern Healthcare. At the beginning, when the magazine was struggling, I would be traveling every week, but the one who kept things organized on a day-to-day basis was an 18-year-old kid named Cathy. She was something to behold with her small stature and her black curly hair. She got things done quickly and efficiently and without a lot of fanfare.
 
She was certainly no shrinking violet, and she certainly wasn't afraid to let me know where she stood on matters. Maybe she got that trait from her mother and father or a brother who was a police detective. I don't know, but as the years went by I became more and more dependent on Cathy and came to trust her completely. And I now realize how lucky I have been to have her in my life.
 
At the beginning of her tenure with me, her dad, whom she absolutely adored, got very sick. She spent many hours at his bedside before he died, and I would make sure that she had plenty of time to do so. Despite her pain, she kept up most of her work, arranging my complicated multi-city trips so that I didn't have to worry much about anything except getting to the airport on time.
 
Building the magazine was a time of terrific excitement, of many triumphs and disappointment. Cathy was always there, urging me and my wonderful staff on to greater heights of success. It was marvelous and one of the greatest adventures that yours truly has ever experienced. Cathy worked day and night because she was still single and regular hours didn't mean much to her. That was the way it was in the beginning for Modern Healthcare and the people who worked for it.
 
Cathy used to come into my office to talk about her two new dogs. They were Yorkshire terriers, and she simply adored them. One was named Rocky, and it soon became evident that Rocky in particular had stolen Cathy's heart. I was regaled every day I was in the office with stories about Rocky and his exploits. You would have thought Rocky must have weighed 200 pounds and stood three or four feet tall, but he was in reality a typically small Yorkie.
 
One day Cathy told me that Rocky had developed very serious kidney problems and that for the next few days would have to stay at the vet while they tried to get him back to good health. Nothing seemed to work, and then one day Cathy told me she was taking her dog home, cutting off all the meds they were giving him and would feed him nutritious home cooked meals.
 
Rocky went from what had been at death's door to living another nine years before succumbing to old age. Cathy's love and persistence was all the medicine he needed.
 
There is someone else in Cathy's life and his name is Michael, Cathy's loyal and devoted husband. Her marriage to Michael took place a number of years ago and I remember well when it all came together for the two of them. They have been in love ever since and from all indications Michael is a terrific individual with great values. They are both blessed.
 
But life can take some unfortunate twists no matter how terrific things have been rolling along. About two and a half years ago Cathy was diagnosed with cancer. For some time now she has been undergoing treatment including radiation and chemo, but I have never heard her whine about her condition. She continues to give 100 percent to work and family. Right now, things look promising, and it appears Cathy's health is on the upswing.
 
I tell you the story of Cathy Fosco because I believe she personifies the lives of so many individuals who make our lives so enriching and beautiful, without getting enough credit or recognition. I simply wanted you to know that Cathy has made an imprint on my life that will forever be with me and my family. Anything I have achieved has been accomplished with Cathy's support and encouragement. We think about and pray for her every day. She’s the best, and now you know it too.

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