Last week I visited my former boss and mentor in the hospital. A friend found my contact info in her LinkedIn account and let me know that through a sudden series of unfortunate circumstances he was in a coma and near death. I saw his wife briefly and she asked me to reach out to our former colleagues, because ALL of his contacts were all in his personal email account and she doesn't have the password; so we were (and still are) all spreading the word to everyone we can as quickly as possible. He passed away on Sunday.

He was a great mentor and visionary --and one of the early pioneers of online education. I learned most of what I know about the business of higher education and online learning from him, both from his knowledge as well as the mistakes we made together.

He ran some of the best meetings I've ever attended. He was better than anyone I've ever known at networking (in the Manager Tools best sense of the word); he kept in touch with everyone, not just the people who could help him and not just when he was looking for a new position. He had both many wonderful qualities and many flaws, as we all do. I wished I had known about Manager Tools when we worked together, because it would have helped me work with him better.

I've spent an hour or so each day for the last week tracking down former colleagues. The ones I know well were easy to get in touch with, although I am very conscious of the fact that I have not been as good about keeping in contact with them. Others that I knew but did not work with closely enough to feel like I could include them in my network were a little harder to get in touch with, but I've been working it out.

I just keep thinking about all of the Manager Tools advice about keeping up with your network and printing out your contact list. And I keep thinking that I am over due to let all of the other people who have made a difference in my life personally and professionally know that I appreciate them and care about them.

Mark, Mike, Wendi, Maggie and Dani -- I'll start by saying thank you for everything you do. And to the Manager Tools greater community - thank you as well, I learn a lot from all of you every week.