Nancy Gardner is passionate about her profession and strives to remain professional in all her dealings with clients. Despite her efforts at personal detachment, it's obvious from any conversation with her that she cares deeply about those clients. Taking a client to the opera, providing tickets to the symphony, or inviting a recent widow to her home for Thanksgiving dinner are no big deal for her. They're just the kinds of things you do if you care about people, she says.
It seems that caring goes both ways.
Gardner's passion away from the office is flying. She's currently a student pilot but hopes to be soloing by year's end. Several of her clients own their own planes and one couple recently invited Gardner to come out to their hangar at a local airport for some refreshments and a close-up look at the planes taking off and landing. They also took her up for a spin in their own plane.
This client later took her aside and asked how her flying lessons were going and how many hours she had in the air. He told her there had been some "incidents" with the flying school she was using and told her he had checked out several others, handing her the card of one he thought was good.
"He had gone and interviewed these different schools to find one that would be better, because he and his wife were concerned about me," she says. "Those kinds of things are very meaningful to me."