ecomom

30 Jan The ecomom Family Remembers Jody Sherman

Jody Sherman
In Loving Memory: Jody Sherman (1965-2013)

By Aleza Freeman
Site Editor at ecomom

I will never forget the day I sat down on the red comfy couch for my interview with Jody Sherman. I was stuffed into my best job interview suit and a matching pair of uncomfortable heels, which I instantly removed at the sight of him wearing a T-shirt, cutoffs and flip flops.

 

Sherman at a food drop in Venice, Calif.
Sherman at a food drop in Venice, Calif.

The co-founder and CEO of ecomom was clearly amused. “So apart from your dislike of wearing shoes, what can you tell me about yourself?”

“Well …” I answered, “someone once left a baby on my doorstep.”

His eyes lit up. His smile widened. “No, I think you’re confusing yourself with me.”

We were instant friends. We spent the next hour talking about ecomom, the incorrect usage of the word “literally” and the over usage of the term “LOL.”  He never even looked at my resume or my portfolio. Instead we debated about the television show Lost.

Jody: It was one of the greatest shows ever.

Me: How can you say that? We got no answers. I wasted six years waiting for answers. And nothing.

Jody: And yet, here we are more than 2 years later and we’re still talking about it.

Damn it. He was right.

Before I came to ecomom, I was … well … lost. I’d had professional writing successes, but nothing that I could actually take pride in. I never felt like the work I was doing was making a difference. And I never quite fit in.

When Jody and Chief Mom Officer Emily Blakeney brought me on at ecomom my entire world changed in an instant. Suddenly I was part of something so much bigger than myself. I was actively working to change the world. My voice was always heard. My feelings were deeply valued. My quirks were completely accepted. I started trusting myself again.

Jody passed away on Monday, January 28, 2013 and it has left a huge hole in my heart. In some ways the world feels much darker with out him. In other ways it is brighter, simply because he passed through.

I tend to think of Jody as a collector of souls. He found certain people, brought us together and created a dynamic team of individuals that fit together just right. We aren’t just your run of the mill co-workers at ecomom. We are a family.

Jody Sherman and Emily Blakeney during a food drop at WHEDco in the Bronx, NY.
Jody Sherman and Emily Blakeney during a food drop at WHEDco in the Bronx, NY.

Not a day went by that Jody didn’t remind us how much we meant to him and the company. I mean, seriously, how may CEOs do you know that would send out an email to his employees in the middle of the night, just to express his gratitude for their hard work? He likewise valued our customers and often called them personally to address their concerns. He was this fiery ball of love, compassion and passion who elicited a chemical reaction in every human being he ever met.

Much like the show Lost, we have no answers as to why Jody is gone. We are sad. We are angry. We are inconsolable. And we will never have the answers we seek. But we will never stop talking about the time we spent with him. We will never lose our memories. And in that regard, our time with him will always be the greatest of our lives.

It’s practically impossible to condense so many feelings and memories into one blog post, but the ecomom family would like to share the following thoughts and stories:

Stacy:

I have so much to say but can’t get it all out. Jody and I have been friends for 30 years, so when he asked me to be a part of something big and something “awesome,” I was in, not even knowing what it was. And then came ecomom. This was Jody’s baby and with babies there are parents. I believe we are the parents of ecomom and want to see it grow up to be big and strong.

I loved and still do love Jody with all my heart, all my soul and will miss him for the rest of my life.

Doing yoga at ecomom.
Doing yoga at ecomom.

Sonia:

I worked in a corporate setting for so long, It was hard to be myself. Jody made this place so comfortable. I feel valued here for just being me and he always made me feel that way.  I am truly grateful to be working here at ecomom.

Jessica:

The first time I met Jody was in my interview. He had on skinny jeans and these shoes with a skull and crossbones on them. I kind of giggled at the silliness of the outfit plus the hair, but his presence was undeniable. Jody said something like “what do you want to know?” I loved that he let me ask questions. I asked why a company for moms and kids when he had none of his own? I asked why Vegas? He answered so honestly and passionately about making a difference. He had intense eye contact and dropped the “F” bomb several times.

I jumped in to follow this man and his goals to make a difference. Jody was our trusted leader. He never faltered from his goals. He really and truly was passionate about helping. He motivated me to be the change I wanted to see in the world. He was truly about the customer … which is unheard of. I see all the people he has touched and am still inspired. My heart breaks for those who feel the loss of a great man, and for those who will not get the chance to be impacted by him like I have.

Elsa:

I’m glad I had the chance to meet Jody. His energy and passion for everything he did reminded me that doing what we love is the most important thing, but isn’t enough if we don’t give and help others. I will always remember that every phrase Jody said ended with “Let me know if I can help.” Thanks Jody, you helped me a lot.

Brittany:

It’s hard to write one specific memory of a man who changed the atmosphere of every room he was in. He made me believe that I could be a better person, and made me want that for myself. After reading so many posts over the last few days, I think he made many many people believe that. His humor was something you needed to experience. His passion for “doing good while doing well” was evident in all of his actions.

I was never upset to come to work for Jody. Pulling into the parking lot and seeing his bright blue Jeep meant it was going to be an amazing day. I even pushed myself harder in yoga when he was in class. He’s just that person that makes you feel inspired and like the possibilities are limitless when you’re around him. I’m so sad that I don’t get to come to work for him everyday, but I couldn’t be more proud to come to work and carry on his legacy and his vision. He will be deeply missed, not only by ecomom, but by everyone he has touched.

Shannon:

I remember describing him to my family and friends when I first started with ecomom. Coming from a more corporate environment, it was refreshing to see my CEO was the guy with colored skinny jeans, flip flops, tattoos and crazy hair. He had this energy about him. He saw the world differently than most. He saw what we could be, all the possibilities.

I admire him for setting an example of how to build a successful company with heart. He is the first person I have worked for that genuinely cared for his employees. He loved us. I felt that within the first few days I was here. It won’t be the same without him. I will miss his energy, tenacity, humor, compassion and quirkiness. Much love and much respect, Jody. See ya on another plain.

Cierra’s wedding reception. Photo by Capture Photography.
Cierra’s wedding reception. Photo by Capture Photography.

Cierra:

Jody was not just a boss, he really made me feel like belonging to this company meant that I belonged to a new family. When my husband and I got married, Jody made sure that his schedule would not conflict with being a presence at my reception. He came and shared words of encouragement and love.

My heart goes out to Kerri, his family and the rest of my team here at ecomom. I know Jody is watching over us to make sure we keep on keeping on as his vision has been instilled in us forever.

Amber:

Jody was not your average CEO. He didn’t sit behind a big desk (although he stood at one, lol). He didn’t look down on others. Instead he made everyone feel welcome and invited them to share in his mission.

The experience I keep replaying in my head is this: One day I was at the sink washing out my dish. Jody came and stood there, we made small talk, I told him I would wash his cup out for him. Jody’s response was “Really, you would do that for me?” I said “of course!” I smiled, he smiled and that was that. That was the type of man Jody was to me, after all he has done for us in the office, he still was so humble to think that me washing his cup was a huge deal, and to him it just as well may have been as he was not the type to expect anything from anybody, but he gave freely!

Jody did exactly what we are all supposed to be doing for our Creator and that is care about others more than yourself, he truly is a man molded by God’s good works and he will be truly missed! Heaven is rejoicing to have their Angel back home.

Mo:

I met Jody a couple years back and had the privilege to be an open book with him. I shared with him my life, where I was at, what my intentions were and why I wanted to be part of the ecomom family. He welcomed me with open arms and always kept his door open. When I had endured a great family loss he picked up the phone and called me. He rang me on my birthday. He was that guy. He is that guy. He shared with us himself, his wife Kerri and his beliefs and dreams. Kerri, like Jody is an incredible human being. Every conversation was filled with presence and with conviction. What a blessing and how refreshing.

Whether you were hearing what you wanted to or having your ideas disassembled and analyzed at every wrong turn, you never walked away from him feeling any less of a human for speaking your mind, for sharing your two cents, for being right or for being so totally and utterly wrong. How many people can really make you feel good about saying something idiotic? Jody.

To me, to you, to the world, sometimes one person at a time and sometimes to the masses, he was intentional and giving. I will be forever tainted by this loss. I will be forever gifted with the lessons. I will be forever thankful for having known you Jody. Always and forever, I will pay it forward in your name.

Rob:

From Rob’s blog: I’m grateful for the life that Jody Sherman lived. I’m grateful for the joy that he brought to my sister (Jody’s wife, Kerri) and our family during his time on this earth. He changed my life for the better, he shook me out of my comfort zone and put in me a drive to succeed.

When Jacque and Betsy would come visit me in the office, he would step away from his computer and play with her. They’d throw a ball back and forth or Jody would show her some new app on his iPhone (he swore she was a genius because of her iPhone prowess). He was funny, he made going to work a joy every single day. I honestly NEVER dreaded coming to work for him. He was my boss, he was my brother, and he was my good friend, I will miss him dearly.

Lara, Rob and Jody – Thanksgiving 2012.

Lara:

I was having a rough time on Thanksgiving and decided I wanted to be alone. When Jody heard this on Thanksgiving day, he called me and said “Get your f—ing ass over here.” I stuttered and stammered and said I didn’t think I’d make very good company, didn’t want to intrude … he interrupted me and repeated, more slowly, “Get your f—ing ass over here.” No one says “no” to Jody Sherman. I grabbed a bottle of Veuve and headed to his home. When he answered the door, he was not a CEO, he wasn’t my boss. He was a kind, empathetic, generous human being who gave me the biggest hug and said “I’m glad you came.”

We ended up opening the bottle of wine sent to ecomom by some of our customers during Black Friday, 2011. What kind of customers send wine (and pizza) to the employees of a website at which they shop? Customers inspired and impacted by the passion and dedication of Jody Sherman. I am incredibly humbled and grateful to have spent time with and gotten to know this amazing man. He was a hero to me and his passing has left a hole in my heart that cannot be fixed.

Kate:

My interview with Jody was as anyone who knew him would expect it.  He clearly pushed beyond comfort zones to make big things happen. While intense, I also immediately saw this passion for never settling – on no, can’t be done, or good enough. It was magnetic and I was hooked; inspired to dream bigger, make bolder moves, live more brightly and generously. I will never forget that glow.

Carly:

I can honestly say I didn’t know Jody all that well. I had only been working for the company for a short time. But I will never forget the first time I met him. He jumped next to my desk  and said “Hi, I don’t know you. I’m Jody!” We shook hands and he went about his business. I remember being scared because Jody was the “big boss” but that quickly went away. I learned that he was such a laid back, friendly guy and he would always try to make everyone feel comfortable.

I remember him and me often walking in the office about the same time every morning. He was always dressed in jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops. I will never forget always looking back behind me to see Jody sitting on the well-known company red couch with his laptop on his lap and his cell phone to his ear. He was so dedicated and worked so hard to please everyone. Everyone who knew him loved him. He knew how to brighten other’s days and laughed and joked with many in the office. He truly was passionate about this company and its members. He loved people and loved helping them. He showed his honor through his works.

He wasn’t just an ordinary man who said “I want to change the world someday.” He did it!

Jody Sherman
Jody Sherman

Stephanie:

Jody cared about each of his employees in a way I’ve never seen before. Late last year, shortly after I began working at ecomom, I timidly approached Jody. I told him that my husband was interviewing for jobs in New York City and would likely move there in the early part of this year. I was nervous to tell him, but he was such a genuine person I always felt the need to be completely honest with him. I continued, “I love my job, I love this company, and I would like to stay here well into the future.” Without hesitation, he asked me, “Are you okay with that? Being away from your husband?” For him, immediate business concerns were secondary to my happiness. Caring for others has become ecomom’s guiding principle because it was the way Jody lived his life.

Jody was a rare leader who worked to build a company that represents the best of what American business can accomplish. He saw that this company could benefit everyone it touches: employees, customers, vendors, investors, and the community.

I will never forget Jody’s vision, and I know my colleagues won’t either. His accomplishments will reverberate in our lives for many, many years.

Wendy:

Nearly four years ago, when ecomom was little more than a big pile of boxes in his guest room, Jody took a chance on me and brought me onto the team. He was always extremely generous with his time and knowledge, but what I loved most about him was his no BS attitude. You always knew where you stood with Jody. If he thought your idea was stupid, he’d tell you. But conversely, he created a supportive atmosphere where if you thought his idea was stupid, you could tell him and he would listen and consider it.

He was funny, he was profane, but most of all he was caring. He cared deeply about his family, his employees, and his customers. He often responded personally to customer posts and suggestions and regularly called customers up to check in and make sure they were happy with their ecomom experience. His passion and commitment was infectious and inspiring.

He was my colleague, my mentor, my friend. Jody you will be forever missed.

About the Author

aleza freeman
Aleza

Aleza Freeman is Site Editor at ecomom. She is an award-winning writer with a background in journalism and copywriting. Aleza lives in Las Vegas with her husband, son, three cats, one goldfish and the occasional spider.

5 Responses to "The ecomom Family Remembers Jody Sherman"

1. 05

Jan 31, 2013 1:23 am

Renee Clinton

When my husband first met Jody it was for a job at ecomom. He rode up on a skateboard with an iPad in tow. Jim returned from the interview blown away at the passion Jod had for his business. Although the job went to someone else we both felt that there would probably never be another opportunity as great as the one at ecomom. I was so saddened to hear the news of his passing. The Eskimos have a proverb that beautifully describes dealing with a loss-” Perhaps they are not just stars but rather openings to heaven where our loved ones shine down upon us and let us know they are ok” Jody Sherman, I bet you will be one of the brightest stars in the sky.

 

2. 04

Jan 30, 2013 11:29 pm

Gigi

I didn’t know Jody – or anyone connected with your company – but after reading this, I felt like I did know him yet sad that I didn’t. You are an amazing writer and between your words and the other tributes, I can see Jody was an amazing man. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you ~ Gigi in LA

 

3. 03

Jan 30, 2013 9:18 pm

Mary

Just beautiful.

 

4. 02

Jan 30, 2013 7:51 pm

John Coleman

Thank you for telling Jody’s story. I knew him from the Navy and lost touch for several years. When we reconnected it was as though we had just spoken… what an amazing larger-than-life guy who will be missed forever. Thank you God for letting him into my life. I wish I could have worked with him and shared in the luxury of daily conversation with him. You all at ecomom know how lucky you are. Thank you for helping Jody reach his dreams while he was with us. I’m crying now…

 

5. 01

Jan 30, 2013 7:07 pm

Bill Benjamin

Thank you for this beautiful tribute. He touched so many in such profound ways.

 

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