Wednesday, November 13, 2013

In Memory of Angela Wallace

Angela Wallace

I may never have become an organizer if it wasn’t for Angela Wallace. So I was heartbroken to hear this morning that she had died of “a sudden and tragic brain infection,” as her family explained.

Angela was a force to be reckoned with within the world of organizing. She was the immediate past president of the National Association of Professional Organizers, and was always very active in the San Francisco Bay Area chapter.

I met Angela when I took some classes from her and Rhonda Elliott, over nine years ago, when I was just getting ready to launch my business. In one class, we got to observe Angela working with a client; I remember listening to her and thinking “I can do this.”

And in another class, Angela helped me get over my stumbling block of picking a business name. “Your name, Professional Organizer” will work just fine to start, she told me. I could always change it to something else later, when I had a better idea of the type of organizing I wanted to do, she said. And here it is, over nine years later, and my business name is still Jeri Dansky, Professional Organizer.

I was just reading an interview Angela did with the New York Times in March 2012, while she was the NAPO president. I loved reading this part, which I can just hear Angela saying:
Q: How do you feel about the Container Store, or any store that sells organizing supplies?

A: I think it’s given more options for solutions. And yet the average person buying stuff in there is just going to become more cluttered. I never take anything with me to a job. They already have enough boxes. My biggest tool is my brain.
Angela, we will miss both your brain and your heart, so very much.

Photo courtesy of organizer Julie Bestry, taken at the NAPO 2013 conference in New Orleans.

Update later on Nov. 13: Here's one more photo of Angela, courtesy of Rhonda Elliott, and also taken in New Orleans, at her presidential reception. It's a photo that Angela really liked; she had asked Rhonda for a copy.  

Angela Wallace


Deron Bos said...

That NY Times quote is excellent and inspiring. Thanks for sharing this, Jeri. Angela was at the third NAPO-LA meeting I went to and the first time I introduced myself and my business to our chapter with our Member Spotlight. She was encouraging of me afterwards, so it's not surprising but is gratifying to hear that was part of her usual M.O.

Jeri Dansky said...

Deron, as I went through my "Angela" stuff on my computer, I found the "brain as her biggest tool" idea in an email of hers, too. It was a point she made often - and a good one.

And yes, Angela encouraged many of us. She would often donate an hour of coaching as a raffle gift at NAPO-SFBA events - one of the many ways she shared of herself to help us all.

John Trosko said...

Jeri, I hear you. Angela Wallace was very supportive of the Los Angeles Chapter of NAPO, attending (and presenting) at the Los Angeles Organizing Awards many times. I am fortunate to have her guidance while I was President of the Chapter for two years. I am really crushed at the news that we lost someone who was not only involved in our industry on a national level, but as a leader in our sister chapter in Northern California.

John aka OrganizingLA