Yesterday I attended Gabriel Li's funeral along with many colleagues, Gabriel's parents, relatives and many of his friends.
I have written to you often about making your mark in life and working towards something you want to be remembered for.
Well Gabriel certainly made his mark. For those that don't know him, he was born and raised in Urumqi in Xinjiang Province. He attended University of International Relations. He was strong and fit. One colleague commented to me about his finely shaped muscles. He was a great dancer and represented us at the Annual Party and at Sports Day. His clients loved him and he represented them well. He was a quiet performer and a delight to be around. In the spirit of doing more and talking less he was a model for all of us to learn from. One colleague who was very close to him told me he was the most optimistic person in the company. He would always work to cheer everyone up.
His mother's comments though are what touched me the most. She said that Gabriel was the one person who was always there for everyone. That he never asked for a thing. She said that she and her husband were so proud of him and they felt guilty because they couldn't do more for him ... because he was so resourceful on his own. She mentioned that he had a dream and he was chasing it. And she was most gracious in speaking about how appreciative she was of Gabriel's friends and colleagues who were so helpful in the process. His parents were very strong and proud and it was clear Gabriel had many of their characteristics.
On Friday at the stroke of 11 a.m. I would like to ask each of you stand and take one minute of silence to properly remember Gabriel. I also spoke to TB and Shenan and we are going to honor him and remember him by naming an award after him for young, rising talent, who chase their dreams and make things happen in quiet and meaningful ways. This will not be an award that one can campaign for, it will be given by the leadership of this company for staff that deliver the goods and don't pound their chests while doing so.
What I have come to realize after 28 years in this business is that at the end of the day it is the relationships you create in your work and the people you surround yourself with that really matters. I am grateful to each of you for all you do, and I feel lucky to have known and worked with Gabriel.
Ogilvy Public Relations, North Asia