Say it ain't so, Broc. Say it ain't so!
Today I received an email that really jumped out at me. It was from Broc Romanek, titled "A Fond Farewell From Broc." Broc was one of the first "faces" of corporate governance for me. This was not long ago when blogs were rare and practitioners received a good deal of their information in the form of hard-copy periodicals that circulated around the office. Broc was a writer and editor of a number of them. When I got my own copies, I saved them in three-ring binders for future reference. I poured through these periodicals, and that formed the base of my corporate governance knowledge early on in my career. The more I read, the more I wanted to know. In a way, Broc's writing helped me find my calling.
Broc had a way of writing about corporate governance that made it engaging and even entertaining. Finally meeting Broc in person made me see how this was a direct reflection of his personality and the way he conducted himself. Broc was quirky, eccentric and unconventional--summed up by an old photo, posted somewhere in cyberspace, of him drinking (who knows what?) out of a leather boot.
Broc's spirit had such an influence on me as my career progressed. Watching him work always reminded me that we should feel free to experiment and get creative with how we deliver knowledge in the practice of corporate governance (like building a #corpgov community on Twitter, of which he and I were both early adopters). And it reminded me to keep it real and not take ourselves too seriously. Broc and I served together on the board of the Society for Corporate Governance, then known as the Society of Corporate Secretaries & Governance Professionals. I remember showing up at board meetings where Broc would be wearing a University of Michigan knit beanie or sporting a red velvet blazer and longish goatee beard. Broc could pull off the look... because he was Broc!
Broc's prolific knowledge of corporate governance and securities law continues to astound me. He knows so much about such a broad spectrum of SEC regulation that he'd make a better Commissioner than some of the ones in recent memory. (Buy me a beer sometime and I'll name names.) And he shared with us what he knew in succinct and readable daily bursts via his emails, blog posts and videos. He gave thoughtful answers to all of my many questions and championed my career. I always tell people that the secret to success in this field is to be generous with your time and knowledge. It is the one common trait I see in all of the most successful and respected corporate governance leaders, past and present. Broc had this trait in spades. It will take him far and earn him a loyal following in whatever he does in his next phase of life.
Thank you, Broc, for all you have done for my career and being a good friend over the years. I will miss what you brought to the corporate securities and governance community day-in and day-out. You left it all on the field.