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Friday Fun: Those that shape us

Jack Brickey Community Leader Mar 24, 2022



When I initially signed up for this Friday Fun week I had something entirely different in mind and had already drafted the intended article. However, due to a recent event, my mind took me to something entirely different and inarguably more important than my original idea. My hope is that my post does not take the fun out of our Friday Fun but rather encourages you to pause from your busy day and allow yourself a thoughtful moment that ultimately brings a smile to your face.


Life's Influencer's 

We all have been influenced by many events and people. Most often we are who we are largely as a result of key individuals or events in our lives. Certainly this is the case for me. In the last couple of weeks I have taken the time to reflect on my past and I can clearly identify, family members, career choices, friends and colleagues that have shaped who I am in a positive way. Our morals, integrity, empathy, sense of humor, interests, career, and yes sense of community are largely shaped by our life's influencers. Granted, we likely have had negative influencers but let's focus on the positive here, after all this is Friday Fun. 🙂


Take a Moment

On this Friday Fun challenge take a moment for reflection. Clear your mind of the less important things that define your day and occupy your mind. Then considering your life influencers share with the Community and more importantly, if possible, take a moment to reach out to the individual to say thank you.


I will get us started...


While I have had many positive influencers in my life the one person that is front and center for me of late is my mom. She has always had a great sense of humor. She is a very independent and well grounded woman. She is understanding, a great listener, and thoughtful in her guidance. She mirrors much of what we try to create in the human components of our Community.


While I regretfully lost my mom recently, I am so very thankful and happy for the time we  had together. We always stay connected with weekly if not more frequent phone calls. We take time to discuss the family, current events or have a good laugh. You may note that I speak of her in the present not the past. This is because she is still with me and will continue to be so as long as I take the time for thoughtful reflection.


If you are so inclined please share with the rest of the community someone that has or continues to shape who you are in a positive way. No need for names or personal information here.


I have several that I'd struggle to choose between if you asked me "who was the most positive influencer"

The short list is:

  • Sarah  - for, well, all the things
  • Chrissy - for understanding me, and hence being able to live with me
  • Mum - for teaching me everything
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@Nic Brough -Adaptavist- all women!  As this is national womens month, I applaud your list! 

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Mar 24, 2022

@Jack Brickey I'm very sorry to hear the news that you have shared, but I'm glad that you used that you make this post.

I want to quickly touch on the negative influences as a number of those drove my career decisions that brought me to the Community in the first place, so as much as they may have been painful at that time I'm always grateful that they led me here!

My Mom & Dad is two of my biggest influencers and champions!  I strive every day to try and be as good of a parent to both of my kids as they have been to my sister and I.

My parents have also volunteered many hours to various organizations and I believe they are my inspiration for having a desire to give my time to various organizations as well.

My parents have always been and still are two of my biggest champions.  If I share one of the articles I have written on the Atlassian Community, they won't necessarily understand all the technical terms but they always have positive and encouraging feedback.  The same goes for my charity streaming, they won't understand much about the games I'm playing but will be the first ones to donate to my cause and will come back to make many more donations throughout the year to support me!

Thank you for setting up the platform to share @Jack Brickey!  I think this is a wonderful use of Friday Fun!

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Jack Brickey Community Leader Mar 25, 2022

Great point on the negatives as they certainly can end up making a positive impact.

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For my masters degree I had to write a paper on the biggest influencers in my life. At the time, I chose neither positive or negative. I chose those that were in-between.  Those that sat on the side lines and didn't make life easier or harder, they just existed and took care of themselves. This concept is so anti-Marine Corps philosophy. 

I felt those kind of people made me want to be a person that made an impact in others lives.  Positively if I could, and negatively if they warranted it.

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Monique vdB Community Manager Mar 25, 2022

What a lovely tribute to your mom, Jack. She must have been such a special person. 💙

When I think about this question I think about my best friend David.  We met on the first day of high school and are still best of friends to this day. (He made me a cake just a few days ago for my birthday.)  Not only is his friendship meaningful to me, but it had ripple effects throughout my whole life.

He was the one who got me into BBSes back in the '90s, and through that I met many other friends and ended up writing an online journal in the early '00s. Through that I ended up meeting people including both my husband and the woman who gave me my first community management job.  I can't even imagine what my life would look like now if we'd never met on that first day of school! 

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@Monique vdB we should all have a friend like David in our lives!  What a wonderful gift you have in David.

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Jack Brickey Community Leader Mar 25, 2022

True lasting friendships are so critical and often rare in our lives. It is great to hear that you have found this in David!

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@Jack Brickey first, my condolences on losing an integral person in your life, your mom! And, you made my heart flutter when I heard the kind and compelling words you used to describe her and her influence on you. As a mom, I can understand how important a child is to you.  And, as a mom, how you want to make a positive impact on your children.  And, knowing you carry her with you today, is a positive thing I wish for my children when I am physically gone from their lives.

My positive influence is my husband. We have been together since we were 19 years old. We have been through many things in our lives together. When I retired from the Marine Corps, and spoke about him at my retirement ceremony, I said he was the "wind beneath my wings, my support, and my biggest critic, and a royal pain in my butt (substitute bad word here). He made me better." His influence on my life made me become the highest Chief Warrant Officer rank I could achieve in the Marine Corps, get my bachelor degree while I was raising small children and working, get my masters degree while I was separated from my family during a military assignment. 

He is calm, introverted, with a dry sense of humor, wicked wit, and sarcasm that tends to make you laugh instead of cry. I am none of those things. I am his perfect opposite. However, watching him has made me realize it takes all kinds of people to make the world function. He taught me to be more.  More to those around me. More to my community. More to my friends. And, more to my family. And, I am moving more to the center of who I was and who he was when we met.  We both are moving more to the center of our tendencies and personalities.

Thanks for this idea, @Jack Brickey ... Happy Weekend, everyone!

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Jack Brickey Community Leader Mar 25, 2022

Marjorie, what a wonderful person to have by your side and a great example of someone that helps shape our lives. Thank you for sharing!

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Andy Gladstone Community Leader Mar 25, 2022

@Jack Brickey let me add my condolences on the loss of your mother. I noticed you went dark for a few days - I finally had a chance to answer some questions first - but was not aware why. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings here.

I initially read this discussion last night and had to ruminate on it overnight. I had some obvious ones, but wanted to think deeper about some people that impacted me so greatly in such short time. So apologies to my wife of almost 23 years and Mother and Father of almost 44 years...

Dan Horowitz. Dan was my high school hockey coach in 11th and 12th grades. At that time I was captain of the team, which made me chief misfit in the school. I was a good kid and descent student, but was devolving as I started to identify more with my on-ice personality than my in-class persona. As I was boarding the bus for an away game one day in Junior year he put his arm out and stopped me from getting on the bus. In no uncertain terms he told me that I could be a great leader, and a great man, but I am getting in my own way with all of the %$#^ I was getting myself into. It was 2-3 minutes of monologue tops. He flipped a switch in me at that moment. I don't know why he decided to do that at that exact moment, but somehow deep inside I knew it was what I needed to hear. From that moment forward I paved a new path forward based on the picture of the potential me he painted that day.

Ms. Silver. The absolute most inspiring teacher I ever had - 11th grade English Composition and 12th grade English Literature. She was not Robin Williams in Dead Poet's Society, but the thirst she gave us for every word of Dickens, Hemingway, Melville, Salinger, Hawthorne, Frost, Thomas, Emerson, Whitman and Thoreau still have me reading their works today and savoring them. She taught us that the tool of the expression of the mind is mighty pen. 

@Jack Brickey thank you for taking me on this trip down memory lane. So much to be grateful for. So lucky to have had these influences in my life... 

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Jack Brickey Community Leader Mar 31, 2022

Awesome post @Andy Gladstone

truly theses are individuals that have influenced you in a very positive way.

Hi Andy!

Just wanted to let you know, that your last line resonated with me so deeply! My entire life I've been Destiny's favorite child! I've had parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, teachers, mentors, colleagues, doctors who have made me essentially a better person! 

But the two people who influence me the most, are the two people closest to me - my husband and my daughter! He's my anchor and she my compass, together they are my beacon of hope, love and all that is good in my world!

Thanks once again for sharing!

Molly Couch Atlassian Team Mar 25, 2022

I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope you continue to remember positive ways she impacted you.

Thanks for the invitation to reflect and be grateful. I would say:

  • My mom - for showing me what it looks like to not give up and do hard things
  • My stepmom & dad - for what it looks like to have a positive attitude about life and that "life isn't what happens to you, but how you handle it"
  • And on a non-familial note, a co worker & mentor who became my manager - for her empathy, her ability to think rationally to solve problems, and how she saw potential in people
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Hi @Jack Brickey , thank you for the topic. I'm really sorry for your loss...

I'm really grateful for

  • my grandmother - she was the only grandparent I remember. She taught me to not to take life so seriously, she encouraged me to make a fun and jokes from myself and she loved it. She was probably the only person who understood me when I was a teenager and she always supported me :)
  • my mother - she taught me an empathy and the feeling that I'm not the most important person in the room... it's quite useful :D
  • my father - he set up rules for me and I'm really grateful for it especially in the hard times
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@Jack Brickey So sorry for your loss, Jack.


For my answer, I have to say my team. I was given a unique opportunity to build and lead a team of Atlassian Solutions Specialists at our company. I know it can be rare to have multiple full-time employees dedicated to the Atlassian stack. But, thanks to our team, they've been able to continuously show value, not only in the Atlassian tools, but in our team as well. I've never loved a job more than what I do now. And while I love it partially because of the type of work, the team themselves is what makes me love it the most. 

Having a true team where everyone has the same goal is a precious and inspiring experience. Everyone is so willing to put in the time and effort to help our users. They are a constant source of inspiration. 

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Brant Schroeder Community Leader Apr 01, 2022

I would have to say my parents.  Both were equally influential and continue to be influential in helping shape who I become. 

Darryl Lee Atlassian Team Apr 08, 2022

My Mom and the elder family members are always the role models for me in learning about the way of being a great person, while my wife is the best mirror and mentor to point out what I could improve.


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