Loss and Leadership

Loss and Leadership

Feeling of Loss

I recently experienced my first real feeling of loss in my life. While I lost all of my grandparents, I never truly understood that loss because they did not live close. However, as I grow older and becoming a mother of two as also taught me the realization of the emotional loss I would feel if something were to happen to my own children. Someone very close to me in my life went missing after hiking with two friends. On August 14, 2016, the day after celebrating his 50th birthday, Gordon Sagoo, an experienced hiker, did not make it back to his meeting spot after going by himself to the peak of Baby Munday Peak in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. After 7 days, Search and Rescue was not able to turn up any trace of my cousin. The family then launched a private search. This search also turned up nothing. For the full details of the story, you can go to:


Gordon has a child; my first thoughts went to her. Being a mother, I cannot imagine the pain of a child losing a parent. The fact that he was never found also brings me deep sadness, as there is no closure for the family. I remember vividly looking at the photo on social media of the North Shore Search and Rescue (NSR) talon helicopters and having this feeling of hope that he would be found, as NSR is known to be the best in the country. The hashtag #bringGordhome was passed blasted through social media through family and friends to keep the spirit alive in all of us that Gordon was going to come home safely. Friends and family risked their own lives to go to the mountain and search when Search and Rescue was not able to find anything. All of the efforts, near and far, was because people were emotionally feeling the loss of Gordon and wanted him to come home.

Every time I look at this photo, I cry because all of us truly believed that he was strong enough to survive this and that there would be some confirmation of him being alive and okay.  It has been only a few months since we have experienced this loss of knowing Gordon will never be found or never come home. It’s heartbreaking and words cannot explain how not having any closure puts a deep hollow whole in your heart. I consider myself to be a strong person, but even I could not keep myself strong for his daughter.

Loss and Leadership

As life goes on, I have learned that loss impacts leadership. As a leader, I believe in resilience and taking loss and turning this into being a better leader. The emotions during loss take a toll on a person’s health. Therefore, it is my job, as a leader, to help to support people during this time of need. Further, a leader must act as a human first and use compassion when approaching leadership. Understanding is another aspect of leadership. When a leader genuinely understands others, he or she illustrates that he or she truly cares. In addition, no one wants to feel as though they have to focus on their job when they go through a difficult time. As a leader, remember those emotional moments you have experienced because oftentimes we forget about what it is like to lose someone if we are so far removed from it. Be open to listening and let your subordinates come to you to share their emotional loss if they want to. Give them time to grieve, as everyone grieves differently. Most importantly, understand that people go through loss differently and give them time and space but put yourself in their shoes and relate to their experience of loss because when they come back to work, the loss and the emotions are still there; it does not shut down; the grieving process takes time.

This posting is dedicated to Gordon Sagoo. May the mountains smile down on you. We know you loved the mountains. We know you are looking down on your family and taking care of them in the spirit world. However, know that you are so truly missed and we love you deeply.

If anyone wants to support Gordon’s daughter, a GoFundMe page has been set up at:


Rest in Peace – #bringGordhome


Category: Blog, Sunddip

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