Ruettimann Conference Board

Some of my readers know me as a former human resources lady. Some of you know me as a blogger. But a surprising number of my readers are senior executives and communications experts who found me through my work with The Conference Board.

For five years, I wrote a column in The Conference Board Review that covered HR, management and leadership issues. I dissected all sorts of stupid stuff — from wellness to diversity — while trying to offer a fun and alternative perspective of human resources.

Unfortunately, The Conference Board Review is now out of print. The Conference Board had major layoffs, and many people beyond the magazine lost their jobs. This is sad news.

So let me tell you about two people who deserve recognition.

My editor-in-chief, Matthew Budman, was the first person to pay me to write in a print publication. For those of you who don’t believe that money is validation, you haven’t met a struggling writer.

Matthew was instrumental in building my professional confidence, but he also showed me that a boss can be a friend. I remember when he first introduced me to his wonderful and wicked smart wife. I thought, “Oh my god, did I pass the test? Does he like me? I think he likes me.”

(Jesus. A writer’s ego can be so fragile.)

My senior editor, Vadim Liberman, made me a better writer through his meticulous editing process. “Can’t I create a straw man? Can’t I engage in logical fallacies? Can’t I insert this Lady Gaga lyric? Try to stop me! Oh, you can stop me? Okay, fine, I’ll accept your feedback and make changes.”

(As a side note: I went to Vadim’s house, a few weeks ago, and realized that it was only the third time I’ve been in a colleague’s house in my entire career. Vadim and I are friends for life.)

So I’m bummed that The Conference Board Review is no longer in print. Two great writers and editors are out of work. And, selfishly, I met so many crazy CEOs and COOs during my stint as a columnist. High-functioning psychopaths who shared their crazy stories and complained about their HR departments. I never paid for a meal in New York City, and those conversations almost always led to consulting projects and speaking engagements.

So that sucks. My executive-slash-whackadoodle pipeline is gone, and I will miss the jacked up stories of executive HR ladies run amuck.

But I am thankful for the small opportunity to work with Matthew and Vadim at The Conference Board Review. They changed my life and helped me to grow as a writer. I learned to be a better and more trustworthy colleague. And I made life-long friends in the process.

I hope that, one day, I can be as helpful to them as they were to me.