Mark Insull was one of my favorite people. I suspect he was a favorite for many others, too.
To know him was to love him.
His good looks (that included a luxuriant head of hair), a proper British accent, and his simply daffy sense of humor were irresistible to anyone who came into his orbit.
What got me was his vocabulary. It was amazing.
Let me illustrate.
Mark started working at CEB a year before I did. Because we were two of the tiniest young people in the San Francisco office, we bonded instantly. On day one, we went to lunch.
“Well, Jim, this job has me flummoxed! I can’t help you, good luck! Ha ha ha!”
Honestly, I can’t remember anyone who ever used the word “flummoxed.” I haven’t heard it since.
Mark and I became friends. Lots of lunches.
You can learn a lot about people going to lunch with them. You know what matters to them and how they think. If you were with Mark, it also meant lots of laughs between tales of work and his devotion to his family.
During those lunches, I learned about Mark’s meeting with Anne Marie. An American college professor (Ann Marie) and a used car salesman from the UK (Mark) meet in San Francisco. An unlikely pair, perhaps. Regardless, he was smitten.
They married and had two beautiful daughters, Charlotte and Rachel. He was so proud that both of them were college graduates. From good schools, too. Something he hadn’t done. “Sort of makes the crazy work thing worthwhile!” he told me two weeks ago in our last conversation.
What I remember most about Mark was his laugh. He was always quick to laugh at my lame jokes. I was always sad when our time together was coming to an end. He was simply lovely to be around.
This is a super sad time. He’s irreplaceable—no sense to be found here with his passing. I feel so much for his wife, daughters, and family. They know what a special gift he was.
The only thing I can add is now we’re all flummoxed.
RIP – Mark.