Nobody could have asked for a more loyal colleague than you had been to me, over the past three years.
The time we spent In Orlando together, early in 1990, gave me the chance to discuss with you what you wanted to do within the organization and your future in Melbourne.
As the early months of 1990 wore on, things firmed up. I would go to Melbourne as GM Victoria with an ongoing responsibility for NSW, whilst you would move into a National Training role, expanding and rebooting your involvement, overseeing State training programs and working alongside State Directors.
I was aware of the difficulties you had faced in Victoria; the economy of the State was perilous and the resistance to National Franchising was quite intense. I wanted to come into Victoria with your full support to bolster your legacy and to ensure your involvement would be ongoing and beneficial to both you and the Group. I was looking forward to working with you as we both assumed more National roles.
In addition to the business benefits, I had several personal reasons for the move.
Steve was in Melbourne and in the last stages of his battle with AIDS, I could be there for him and provide a haven for Mum and Chloe to stay whilst they were visiting.
Sas and I were still finding a way through our separation and our dealings with the kids. I would be in NSW at least a couple of times per month and would time these visits to coincide with weekends so I could spend time with the kids. This would reduce the possibility of any competition between Sas and I; the kids were not stupid and had quickly realized, there were avenues to get from Dad what they could not from Mum and vice versa.
The kids could come to Melbourne for school holidays and I hoped the separation would actually improve relations with them, as well as reinforcing Sas’ role as primary carer.
I hoped the move would give both Sas and I the opportunity to get on with our now, separate lives whilst retaining and reinforcing the bonds we shared and valued.
The move was announced at the NSW conference, held in Wollongong, I think in May 1990, I was pleased you were there and playing a major role in the success of the Conference.
Mum had been in Sydney for treatment and she came with me to Wollongong for a few days at the beach. She was in the auditorium when the announcement was made, I was humbled by the standing ovation from our State franchisees in recognition of what we had achieved in this State, but afterwards Mum had remarked “it is pity, it is only real estate”.
This was typical of my mother, but you were wonderful. You were becoming to me; the strong kindly Aunt, who would step in and ease the pain, sometimes caused by an unfeeling parent or colleague.
We were about to embark on an adventure together, this would lead us across the country and internationally, I could not have hoped to have a better person by my side.