It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that Dr. Kathy Cramer passed away on July 13, 2016, due to complications of cancer.
Kathy was diagnosed with cancer in early 2015 but she chose to keep that information private. She seemed to be making progress with her health until relatively recently. With typical enthusiasm and tenacity, she carried on her mission and work until about two weeks ago, when the effects of chemotherapy and the cancer itself became physically overwhelming. At the end, she was surrounded by her husband John Davis, her loving family, coworkers and close friends.
Kathy was truly a visionary leader who brought joy and insight to all who knew her. She considered her life – and even her cancer diagnosis – her personal heroic journey. In fact, she had just begun writing her latest book on how to navigate your way back to vitality and wholeness when your health turns upside down.
Up until her last moments, Kathy lived her message of shining the spotlight of your attention on the positive in every situation. She was an inspiration to us all at The Cramer Institute and we are committed to honoring her legacy. Her mighty cause will live on in each of us as we continue the important Asset-Based Thinking work she so passionately advocated and that has touched so many.
As Kathy would have done, we will end this post on an inspirational note. Here are a few lines from one of Kathy’s favorite poems, which was read at her funeral.
“Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
And from her dear friend and fellow traveler on the road back to vitality and wholeness Melissa Fuoss:
“Kathy lived all the way up until she died. She recognized her one ‘wild and precious life’ and she did great things.
The Cramer Institute Team
Below is Kathy’s eulogy, lovingly given by long-time friends and The Cramer Institute senior partners, Judy Dubin and Peggy Guest.
Visionary and creative driver
Incredible energy and optimism and charisma
Generous — with a mindset focused on abundance
Dedicated to people’s positive transformations
Able to lift people up — to inspire consciousness and confidence from the inside out
A special gift for helping each of us feel seen and valued
Dedicated to helping each of us see ourselves as powerful individuals
Helping us name big dreams and then give birth to those dreams
Full of love and life – and love for life
These phrases are taken from stories of Kathy’s impact many of you have shared in the past few days.
As John began hearing these stories, he was inspired to name today’s spiritual experience, “A Celebration of Impact.” It was John’s idea to collect these stories, and many of them have been captured on what we are calling our “impact tree.”
Kathy had a vision. She knew she had a gift to share with the world. Hers was a serious and sacred mission – a spiritual commitment. It gave her passion and purpose. It raised her up. And for many of us in this room and far beyond, it raised us up too.
Kathy’s vision was that each of us could come to know our own unique visions, our personal “moon shots” – and that we could make happen what we want to make happen in the world.
She was passionate about helping us believe in ourselves, appreciate our unique perspectives, and embark on our own heroic journeys to change our worlds. She was dedicated to what she called “holding up the mirror” – enabling us to see ourselves in a way we might never have seen ourselves before.
Kathy’s vision for The Cramer Institute was that we would be a thought leader – a “well” where people could come for new ways to deepen the relational environments in which we live and work. She understood that for us to live into our dreams and change our realities, we needed to see deeply, to appreciate and call on one another’s assets and talents.
Kathy was an innovator and an inventor. Her concept of Asset Based Thinking as a mindset management tool was quite elegant. We call it ABT and it is anchored in appreciation. ABT can be lived in what we call the “five to one” principle – we seek to focus 5 times more frequently on what is working well rather than what is problematic. She knew we need to name problems so that we can see possibilities and paths to solutions.
ABT is what Kathy called the “secret sauce” to enable individuals, leaders, and teams to support each other and collaborate to make big things happen.
At The Cramer Institute, we learned together that the simple concept of ABT takes a lifetime of disciplined practice in order to stay on the asset-based thinking channel rather than defaulting to the deficit-based thinking channel.
In the years since ABT was named, neuroscience has corroborated the contagiousness of positive thinking. Kathy was a scholar – reading everything from neuroscience to poetry to religious inspiration to academic studies. She continuously expanded our knowledge base and linked our work to that of other scholars.
Kathy’s mission was not just to shape this vital understanding, but also to share it widely and broadly. And share it she did, with energy and passion that people found infectious and inspiring. She did her work with joy and enthusiasm that deeply touched colleagues and clients alike.
Most of our clients quickly became partners. Many of those partnerships have become deep friendships that have lasted decades.
Because of your stories about Kathy’s impact on you, we can clearly see that she fully lived her vision.
Everyone here has been touched deeply by knowing Kathy.
Her mission was to inspire us, to teach us, to help us know and believe in ourselves. She wanted to help us transform ourselves and our worlds. To a remarkable extent, she did it.
Kathy lit up the room whenever she walked in. May her light always be with us.