In every organization there is that one person who you can always count on to get the job done. Someone who isn’t afraid to tell you what you need to hear instead of what he thinks you might want to hear and does it in a calm, professional, empowering way. A person who seems to have no ego, radiates authenticity and inspires respect, even from the toughest of customers. He’s the one you always think of when you need a public face. You turn to him to help lead the most challenging projects. Adding value in every situation is a reflexive part of his spirit. And he’s the first on the list when your boss asks you who deserves greater responsibilities.
This was Carl Martin.
He was one of the first junior managers that my team introduced me to when I came to Jacksonville. Jennifer York/Williams and I always turned to him when we needed something done right. He was fearless and calm in every encounter with an irate customer, quietly volunteered to work on things that other people avoided, and coached everyone, including us, with an empowering class.
Carl was always looking for ways to improve, both our processes and his own ability to contribute. I wasn’t surprised when I heard that his lifelong dream of earning a law degree came true. His goal orientation and ability to focus was one of the things my ADD mind admired most.
And he was a generous friend. No matter how well you knew him, he always made you feel like you were the most important person in the room, whether you were a vice president, a customer, an acquaintence, or a front line customer care professional.
Carl embodied everything we aspired to at Continental Cablevision, the true face of an organization that tried to be employee centered and customer focused: exceeding expectations, appreciating the value of every human being, educating us gently but firmly on how we could be better people and offering to walk the talk at every opportunity.
It is said that we are given a weakness to offset every strength. We thought that Carl was an exception to that maxim, until we learned that his graceful countenance harbored a weak heart. Sadly, that wonderful heart failed him last week.
Carl Martin was just 47, way too young to conclude his earthly journey by our standards. But he put more value, energy and exuberance into those 47 years than most of us could put into 90.
And he earned a measure of immortality in the process, injecting his positive spirit into everyone who crossed his path.
Even though we had not talked in nearly a decade, learning of his loss is an intensely personal blow to Colleen and me, and to everyone in the Continental Cablevision family.
But we are also deeply thankful that Carl chose to align his orbit with ours.
The world is a better place because he lived. And you can’t ask for a better outcome than that.