Decades ago at a small women’s college in New England, a group of girls met and formed an incredible friendship. Those thirteen girls had no idea at the time how strong their friendship was and how it would last and, in fact, strengthen through the years.

We called ourselves “The Dynasty” which gives you a clue as to how impressed we were with ourselves at the time! We were bright, attractive, and full of fun. We all had an amazing zest for life!

Years have passed since our graduation from Connecticut College and through the years, this group of friends has continued to share many milestones together; marriage, children, divorce, death, and career challenges and successes. We always take the time from our busy lives to stay connected and make a point to set aside quality time each year to meet for a few days. These reunions are always filled with laughter and tears, and always the warmth of love and friendship. There is such a special feeling when you re-unite with old friends. No need for formalities. We get right into it and return immediately to where we were as college students and bask in the glow of love and respect for each other, and the safety in knowing each other so well.

This past week, we lost one of our friends to cancer; the second one from our group. When someone passes at a young age, of course, there is an overwhelming sense of sadness.This past week since we all received the news of Judy’s passing, we have once again pulled together to support each other and share memories; memories about the good times as well as the tough times, laughter, tears, and gratitude for the time we spent with Judy and each other over the years.

So this post is a tribute on many levels. First and foremost, it is a tribute to my friend Judy, who valiantly battled her disease until the end, who gave us all so much joy through the years with her sharp wit and wisdom. It’s also a tribute to “the dynasty” and how our friendship and commitment to each other have endured; how we have continued to support each other through all of life’s challenges. It’s also a tribute to the strength of women everywhere and their innate ability to form and build lasting relationships. It is this innate ability to build strong relationships that will take us forward into leadership positions that will change the world.