Once a year, we gather as a full Tribe for a weekend of learning and laughter, which we call the Great Get Together. I am on my way there now, for our 2018 gathering.
But it was during our GGT 2016 that a certain couple turned every head – Weezie and Bramble.
Weezie, formally named Louise Ford, was fearless. Absolutely fearless. You can’t very well be a wallflower with a wonderful name like that, and her warmth and easy nature won our hearts. She came to us as a serial entrepreneur, author, bon vivant and sportswoman with a deep love of horses and dogs. Bramble, her omnipresent canine companion, regularly joined us for dinner as he has never been anything less than beautifully behaved.
Weezie quickly became an integral part of our community and one of the Ambassadors who saw the potential of our charitable program right away. Her Get Together Give Togethers were (more often than not) set up to benefit her favorite animal welfare organizations.
In late January, Weezie suffered a horrific horse riding accident and spent several weeks in the hospital. Her bed there was turned into a command center of sorts, as she devoted much of her time to keeping in touch with her vast network of friends around the world, including dozens of IH Ambassadors, and plotting her return to GTGTs. She may have been broken to bits, but her spirit never wavered.
Once we announced our Extraordinary Summer of Giving, with the goal of donating $100,000 in 100 days, she began burning up the phone lines to her hostesses, scheduling multiple GTGTs for June and July.
Weezie seemed to be on the mend, and though she was heartbroken to be told by doctors that she couldn’t join us for our Slice of England trip, she caused a delighted stir when she was well enough to dial into our weekly leader calls.
Then the unthinkable happened for someone who seemed to have nine lives. Weezie slipped suddenly away in early May, much to the shock of us all.
Among those left behind are a son, a Bramble and a community of entrepreneurs who are newly inspired by the woman who brought her dog to a ballroom and showed us all how to live an extraordinary life.
At suggestion of Nancy Murphy, we’ve created an award in her honor. The inaugural Louise Ford Grace & Grit Award will be presented at our GGT this weekend and will celebrate her courage, her determination and her fun-loving spirit. She is forever in our hearts.