Toward the end of my doctoral studies thanks to Luigi Contini I had a marvelous consulting opportunity. Luigi and Mary Contini were dear friends from Westfield who were living in Northern California. Luigi had taken a position as a Vice President of R and D with Dymo the labeling company in the Bay area. He was aware of my studies and graciously invited me and one of my professors to create a program for the Dymo senior management team in the areas of Leadership and team dev…elopment. It was apparent that this was a golden opportunity for me, and as a sidebar there was the ability to pick Luigi’s brain about Strategic business planning
. Luigi was a brilliant executive who had a marvelous diverse career and was an expert in Strategic planning as well as Research and Development. I was scoreless at that time in both areas and loved learning from his mentoring and modeling.The other significant bonus in the story was being able to spend time with Mary Contini and the seven Contini children . Mary was a magnet socially and had the uncanny ability to make everyone feel as though they were the most special person in the world. The children were delightful and the Continis quickly became a second family for me.
The Leadership process went well from the beginning and besides being introduced to business at such a high level there was an additional gift in going weekly from San Diego to the bay area. One of my former parishioner’s Mary Ellen McGlynn was a nurse and instead of staying at a hotel Dymo allowed me to take her and her two roommates out for dinner on the nights I was in San Francisco. A hotel would have been more comfortable, but I enjoyed the company of Mary Ellen and her roommates. The apartment was one of those railroad ones with a space h,eater at each end of the apartment. Unlike San Diego the climate was actually cold and my nights on the sofa often left me shivering. In addition I was glad that Dymo paid for dinner because perennially the only food in the place was a box of stale Oreos. There was a bakery next store and I teased the women that I was going to write the baker into my will.
.One of Mary Ellen’s roommates Emily was struggling with trying to find herself and appeared to change careers weekly. The other roommate, Elaine Murray a college classmate of Mary Ellen’s from Georgetown , was charming and obviously brilliant. She was finishing her master’s degree at the University of California and headed for a nursing faculty career.
Most evenings after my work at Dymo it was Mary Ellen ,Elaine and I for dinner but one evening Mary Ellen had to work the evening shift so it was just Elaine and I that had dinner in a local Greek restaurant. I had admired Elaine’s keen mind and obvious bevy of talents, but up until this evening there had been no romantic involvement. We had known each other for months, but something clicked that night and again my life was about to be given a new treasure.