I met Liz Strauss in person last year for the first (and only so far) time. Like many, I have long been an admirer and respected her work. She’s one of the founders of SOBcon (someday I will get there and maybe even speak!), keynote speaker, and ‘in the trenches’ business analyst. Today I see that she’s come public with her battle with larynx cancer. The first thing I thought was how difficult it might be for a professional speaker such as Liz to loose their voice. But then reading into the story she published today, I think that her voice might actually be stronger than ever. Maybe not the voice she uses to speak with, but the voice that IS her personality, experience, wisdom and attitude. Why do I feel this way even though I don’t really ‘know’ Liz and she certainly doesn’t know me?

In 2011 when I was introduced to Liz, as part of a pleasant ‘small talk’ introduction she asked why I was attending the conference. When I responded along the lines of ‘oh just a *little* such-and-such project’ her very first words to me included a scolding to never ever refer to anything I did as *little* or *small*. I then got an earful about projecting myself as being less important that I really am (hello, she just met me!) and to go forward from that point forward and respect myself especially as a professional and independent business woman. She also said my perception of myself was bullshit and if I thought and spoke that way, soon everyone would view me that way. At the end of our conversation she gave me a hug and we went our own ways.

Unless she tells that to everyone she meets, I am pretty sure she won’t remember the conversation. It doesn’t matter. From that day, that moment, forward I have never referred about myself as small or insignificant. While I might feel it sometimes (hell, a lot of times) Liz as a total stranger saw right through me and called me out on the carpet. She’s direct, blunt, funny, and intelligent. She won’t loose her true voice. Not at all.

Godspeed Liz and kick ass to recovery and heeling. We need your voice.