What would Catherine do?
I've uttered that question many times, to myself and to anyone in earshot. The circumstances change, but the crux of the ask remains a constant—there's an important work or life decision at hand, and I know whose counsel I need. Catherine Pierre's. I only recently discovered a legion of us have been asking WWCD for decades. Her wisdom was that valued. And it's why her sudden loss leaves a tear in the universe.
Catherine died on Oct. 27 at her home in Baltimore, a city she loved. She was 53. A loving wife, and mom of two young daughters.
I called her boss, colleague, mentor, and, most treasured, I called her friend. Readers may be familiar with Catherine's name, as she served as associate editor and then editor of Johns Hopkins Magazine from 2003 to 2014. Under her leadership, the magazine won numerous CASE Circle of Excellence Awards, which honor publications like ours. She was a truly gifted writer and editor who could infuse any story with wit and humanity.
Her gifts were many. Storyteller. Sage. Leader. But it was her knack as trusted adviser that set her apart. I still recall sitting in her office as I struggled to find words for my first column as editor. I wanted a template. "Greg, just be yourself," she told me. "Tell a story only you could tell." I still live by that guidance.
In the coming weeks, months, years, I see myself stopping from time to time and thinking WWCD. I trust she'll know just what to say.
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