I was so sad to hear of Sheldon's recent passing. My first job was with VCG as an Account Executive in Marsh Wall in the days of the transparency and the light-box. The Company was growing so fast, it was full of optimism and energy, and it was a fun place to work. I credit Sheldon, together with Mike Watson, Colin James and Steven Harvey Franklin for having faith in me at that time and allowing me to grow into the role of International Sales Manager at the height of a crazy period of digitisation and acquisitions galore. I spent 17 years in Stock Photography in total and am now in the News World with The Telegraph.
The memory I hold dearest is my trip to Stockholm with Sheldon in 1998. He approached my desk one day and asked me whether we needed to visit our agents based out there. When I said "not really - no pressing need" he suggested that perhaps we should reconsider. Chelsea FC were due to play Stuttgart there for the UEFA Cup Winners Cup so we quickly found some pretty 'urgent' business items to discuss with our agents! We were both Chelsea fans, and I was stunned to have tickets to such an amazing event.
It was my first and only trip with Sheldon. I managed to mess up the airport meeting point (he always went to the gates not the departure lounge it turned out), and the timings (because of waiting for ages in departures!), but the flight was smooth.
The match was not the most memorable, but still exciting and tense at 0-0. We were all cheering as Gianfranco Zola scored in the second half to make it 1-0. Sheldon was wearing a full length Barbour, a hat and of was of course smoking his customary cigar, and only removed said cigar to roar and clap Zola's match defining goal.
The rest of the trip went well too and I learned the importance of proper relationships in international business when I was with Sheldon. He had a way with words and managed to connect quickly, warmly and sincerely with all those he worked with. Business culture has definitely changed now in the age of shrinking travel budgets; Google Hangouts, conference calls and Face-time will never beat a wonderful sociable dinner with those you like and trust. I am glad that I learned this then and not now and I will always remember the humour and backbone I witnessed back then.
I will remember Sheldon fondly on Monday 15th and beyond and my thoughts are with Anne and the whole family at this very difficult time. RIP 'The Don' - fellow Chelsea Fan and a great man.