Some people work at a job briefly and move on. Others stay put for years and change a company. Vera Plummer is the latter. An indispensable source of knowledge and a kind person, her retirement, while well deserved, is a somber moment for Oxford. Gerry Kallman, one of Vera’s closest colleagues, toasted her at her retirement party this past Wednesday and I thought it would be nice to share his kind words and sentiments which are certainly shared by all at OUP.
So you are really leaving! I applaud your decision to make the time to spend with your children, grandchildren (both present and future) and on your many other interests. At the same time, I can not imagine Oxford without you. For over a quarter of a century, You, Margaret and I have worked together, joining with the others here to try to make Oxford the kind of company it is. Adding Richard, the four of us have had over ninety-five years of experience selling Oxford books. We are the four musketeers of the sales forces. On the job, you have been our boss, mentor, conscience, and role model. Both at work and at play, you have been a truly great friend to each of us.
To me, you represent the greatness of Oxford and your leaving it will be felt throughout the company.
Now, what makes a publishing company great?
The Books? Yes, the books are important. We publish excellent books, but you are the first to recognize the truly great ones and inspire the rest of us to go out and put them into the hands of the public. Your understanding of our marketplace is second to none, at least not at Oxford.
As an employee of a company, what is most important to me, even more important that the product (to use that nasty word) is the working environment and the people within that company and here, you have helped create the necessary conditions that have made me love Oxford so much. One could not ask for a better colleague. Not only have we shared love for the same titles over the years, you have always been there for me when I needed professional encouragement or advice. You have been a leveling influence in the office with your patience and kind attitude and are always available to lend a helping hand to me and others when needed.
Over the past 26 years, I have seen many associates come and go. Some of them I miss very much, but I must say, I will miss you the most.
We at Oxford salute you and wish you the very best. May you be healthy and happy.
Pictures taken by SookHee Park