So today is a momentous day for me.
A day of both great pride and of great sadness.
You see today is the day the wonderful Charinee leaves Wieden after 6 amazing years to move to NYC.
In her time here, she has gone from being an intern, to creating the infamous Luan Dun to working on a global Michelle Obama initiative to being involved in a whole bunch of work for clients including NIKE, Disney, Tiffany and pretty much everything in-between.
And don’t forget, she managed to do all that while having me as a boss so that proves how smart she is.
But it’s more than that.
You see Charinee is – in many ways – the life and soul of the agency.
On first impression, she looks like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth – but that’s part of her genius – because she’s a mischievous little fuck [in the most magnificent of ways] and brings the best out of people and brings the best people together.
Everyone loves her.
Clients, colleagues, bosses, weirdo’s …
You see Charinee has got that deadly combination of smarts, charm and looks so everyone want to hear her, talk to her, learn from her and just hang out with her so it’s no surprise she’s such a killer presenter and more connected than Linkedin.
But it’s even more than that. At least for me.
Because Charinee is the very last planner of the original mob I inherited when I took the job.
The last one.
It’s weird, but this has made her leaving feel a bit different to when the other guys have left.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as happy and proud of her as I was when everyone else went on to bigger things than they could have imagined [if only for the fact it means that in a small way, I may have contributed to that] … but I have to be honest, I am a bit more emotional that she is leaving, because being the last means she’s the person I’ve had the most history with.
In short, Charinee has been a bloody legend to me and for me.
Not just in the standards of her work … nor just the infectiousness of her spirit and attitude … not just in her overall desire to be better … but in how she has protected, defended, taught and saved me in all manner of situations.
From the time she managed to get my laptop returned to me from a Taxi driver in Xiamen to helping me write presentations that made me look much smarter and informed than I really am to organising a surprise birthday party [even though she accidentally copied me on the email she sent to the agency] to just making me laugh at times where I wanted to cry.
Through thick and thin, she has been there … loyal, curious, passionate and just plain ace.
Mind you, I’ve not been too bad to her.
Sure I’ve sent her on wild goose chases.
Sure I dropped her into mad situations.
Sure I’ve asked her to deal with issues that weren’t hers of the making.
But I didn’t kill her when we reached Manilla airport after a 2 hour taxi ride through the mad streets of Manilla and she announced “I left my passport back at the hotel”.
And don’t get me started on the amounts of times I’ve overlooked her latest ‘great movie reccomendation’ [which turns out to be one of the most depressing things I’ve ever seen] or the numerous occasions she’s told me to hold her plate up while she instagrammed her latest favourite meal or the fact she is the most photogenic fuck in the universe [except when she’s eating – see below] and yet I still will allow myself to be pictured with her despite it making me look even more beastly than usual.
I’ve been a bloody saint to her. Oh yes. It’s not all been one way traffic. No siree.
But in all seriousness, I feel honoured to know Charinee and to have worked with her.
She has made a massive difference to my life, the teams, the agency and the clients.
And yet despite all this, she has remained humble, grateful, eager and passionate to improve.
We are very lucky to have had her, especially for 6 years … which in China terms, is a lifetime.
And for all she has given us, what has Wieden give her?
Me and her husband. [No seriously, they met when he was a planner here too]
In all honesty, Dominic and I got the much better end of the deal, but she seems happy enough so I’m just hugely thankful – and Dom better be as well – that for once, her decision-making ability in terms of who she spends a lot of her time with, deserted her.
So my wonderful Charinee, I still might not be able to pronounce your surname, I still might take the piss out of the Rod Stewartesque outfit you once wore [but never wore again] but I can tell you I’ll miss you hugely and I’m incredibly grateful for all you’ve done in this office and for this office.
Wherever you go, they will be very lucky to have you because I can honestly say I couldn’t have achieved half of what I’ve achieved here without you and I certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed it half as much.
Au revoir, but not goodbye.
Ciao lovely. It’s been an honour.
Now knock them dead.
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