Remembering Steve Goodwin
Steve Goodwin was more than a strategic partner to Peppercomm and me.
Steve was a sheer delight to work with and possessed a dry-as-dust sense of humor that matched my own (he was funnier). I guess that’s why we clicked from the moment we first met. But who knew then that Peppercomm’s amazing relationship with the branding guru would be cut short this past week.
Steve and JP Laqueur, his long-time business partner at Brand Foundations (www.brandfoundations.us), had worked closely with the Peppercomm team over the years, becoming friends as much as partners.
I must admit that, after JP wrote to me of Steve’s passing, I completely lost it. Steve was beyond cool. We clicked on every wavelength and loved nothing more than to make each other laugh. We shared a French-based multinational client for many years and loved to practice our halting, ALM French Level II on one another. I always referred to him as M. Goodwin and he called me “Le Formidable Steve.” He was also kind, generous of spirit, smart as hell, and humble.
You can read more about Steve and in this wonderful obituary published in the Washington Post this past Sunday.
Steve leaves behind a beautiful wife, two incredible teenage sons, and a veritable army of family, friends and fans (including me). I loved Steve and will miss him dearly. So, too, will many of my Peppercomm colleagues (past and present). Here are some of their recollections:
Ann Barlow: “One of my favorite stories of his was Steve’s epic run to the Alamo. He checked into a San Antonio hotel, got into his running gear, psyched himself up for a good long run, came downstairs and told the front desk clerk he was headed out to run to the Alamo and back. Goodwin noted that the clerk gave him an odd look but just shrugged his shoulders. Two hundred yards later, Steve arrived at his destination. So much for an epic run.”
Jacko Kolek: “We worked on several proposals together that never really materialized, but that didn’t stop Steve from making each opportunity a top priority and providing invaluable strategic thinking. He recently offered his generous support and time pro bono on a new project where we desperately needed his expertise. He was not only incredibly smart, but also really helped to educate us on the process and what we needed to do to best serve the client.”
Deb Brown: “One of my fondest memories of Steve was working with him on writing assignments. Steve was an exceptional writer and editor, and if I sent him a blog or a 1000-word bylined article to review, he would always make the piece more engaging and…simply…better. But he never had an ego and was always genuinely nice and very thoughtful. He would also say that his changes were just suggestions, but, of course, I would end up accepting all of them. How could I not? His suggestions were always on the mark. Steve will be sorely missed.”
Matt Purdue: I know Steve absolutely adored his kids and praised their athletic accomplishments. The very last time we spoke, he told me how proud he was of them for the way they were handling the pandemic disruption.
Also, more than any of the purpose “gurus” out there on TED stages and selling books, Steve truly believed in the power of business to do good. He didn’t see purpose as the flavor of the month that was going to help him sell consulting projects. HIS purpose was to help make the world a better place by guiding companies to truly own a purpose above profit.”
And, finally this from JP Laqueur: “Having been his partner for most of the past decade, I will say that he was the backbone, the rhythm, the power behind our work. He gave me the confidence to pitch any piece of business, to know our work would be delivered with uncompromising quality, and to walk into any workshop believing we would win over the room. And he instilled this same confidence in our clients as well – in their belief in us, in their brands, and in themselves. Early in our collaboration, when we were still forming our partnership, I remember him saying to me, “You’ve gotten a taste of the ‘product’ of Steve, but you haven’t yet felt the ‘power’ of Steve.” And that was so true. His impact went far beyond his beautiful words and the product of his work. He changed lives with his music, his humor, his compassion and his love. All who knew him felt that “power” and were changed for the better.”
After word: When Ann Barlow reached out to Steve’s wife to express our profound condolences, she responded by saying, “Steve always loved Peppercomm.”
Peppercomm always loved Steve too. And we will never forget him.