Sallie Krawcheck via LinkedInThis post originally appeared on LinkedIn. Follow Sallie on LinkedIn
I was pretty new to Bank of America, running, among other things, its US Trust division. Bank of America had a new CEO, and we were new to each other. A cocktail party for the “who’s who” of US Trust clients at my home, with the CEO as guest of honour, seemed like a good idea at the time.
I’ve done this type of thing dozens of times. We have a curving staircase in our home that provides the perfect “stage,” if you will, to address the assembled crowd. Also in our home we have a very sweet, very thin, very ugly, (usually) very shy black cat. (See picture above, with her in her Easter garb. Yes, her tooth does stick out, her whiskers are crooked, and there is something wrong with her eye.)
In all of the client events I’ve had in my home, she’s been too shy to make an appearance. But at this one, she came down the stairs, unbeknownst to the CEO, who was delivering words of wisdom on the state of the economy and the state of the bank’s fortress balance sheet. She planted herself on a step that put her at the level of his head. If you were looking at him, you were looking at her. So the whole party was looking at her.
Ok, fair enough. Wish I had locked her away. Oh well…..
And then she turned her head, looked at the CEO for a bit, looked back at the audience, looked at the CEO … kicked up her leg … and began cleaning her nether-regions.
He talked, she cleaned … he talked some more, she cleaned some more … he paused, she paused … he started in again, she started in again, both with admirable gusto and stamina … Let’s just say she got her nether-regions good and clean. I’m not sure the CEO ever knew what happened, or why there was so much “coughing” from the assembled VIPs.
This is the part of this post in which I am supposed to tell how this seemingly mortifying event turned out for the good. But, before too long, I was “restructured out” of the bank, so not every story has a Cinderella ending. But this one always reminds me how much I’ve enjoyed the journey along the way – how much I’ve enjoyed it, even when I wasn’t enjoying it – in part because the real “laugh until you can’t breathe” moments show up at unexpected times and in unexpected ways.