July 17, 2015



Yesterday morning my ex-wife and business partner of 36 years, Gretchen passed away unexpectedly. Today my mind is reeling, I am bursting into tears every few moments, and I am trying my damnedest to hold it together for our families, my staff and all of the people who loved Gretchen so very much and who are as shocked by this as I am. I am also buried in emails, phone calls, text massages and I appreciate each of them. Today, I am going to ask you to do something for me instead.

The concept of FOUNDATION keeps coming to mind as I deal with this. Gretchen for 36 years has been my foundation in ways no one here could begin to fathom.

So today, instead of worrying about me and instead of grieving Gretchen, do what she would have done and what she certainly would have wanted. You see Gretchen was the kindest person I have ever met. And, I have met over a quarter of a million people personally in my life. Without question she is at the top of the list, not because I was married to her for 20 years, not because she was my business partner and not because even after divorce we remained partners in all of our companies, finances, property and all belongings, but because she defined kindness, giving, concern and sharing. Ask anyone who knows Gretchen and you will not hear an unkind word from anyone. Guaranteed!

Gretchen was my FOUNDATION in everything I do. She supported every nutty idea I ever had unconditionally. From buying our first house,  to not wanting children, moving to San Francisco, buying a house in Los Angeles for our offices there, moving to New York, starting every company, division idea, move, relationship and dime spent. Gretchen supported me when she was pissed at me, happy with me, in disagreement with me and in every single other way I can remember. She caught my mistakes, was always right and she passed away with me owing her over 30,000$ in lost bets. I would be certain of something and say, “Betcha 500$!” Soon after she would say, “Are you ever going to pay up? You are never, ever right!” TRUTH!

So today, I would like you in her name and in the name and ideal of “The Art of Active Networking”, to go out and give to someone else using my GIVE 4 concept. I learned the concepts of this by observing the best of Gretchen for over 36 years together. She was my FOUNDATION even after our marriage ended and right up to yesterday morning, and I don’t know what I am going to do right now. So GIVE 4 is something she liked when I came up with it and something that we can all use to remember her.

Just to remind you this is GIVE 4: Give of yourself 4 hours a week in one or all of the following 4 ways:

1. Give of your ideas and talent to help someone in a struggle, you are talented, they need some help!
2. Give of your time. Volunteer, help a neighbor, serve on a Board for a non profit, but give up some of your valuable time!
3. Give of your money. Donate to a crowdfunding campaign, buy a coffee for someone in line, toss a few coins into a cup of someone on the street.
4. Give of your network referrals. Someone you know is struggling right now, please help them by using your amazing network of resources!

And keep Gretchen in your thoughts when you do this. She would honestly hate the attention I am putting on her right now, but she would bathe in the goodness, and bask in the results I promise…it’s what she did every single day of her life in so many ways, from her animal rights and protection charities, to veteran’s, to her love for friends and family and for complete strangers. Never have you met a kinder more gentle and giving person.

I am devastated. I love you deeply Gretchen, so did many, the rest who never got to meet you were most certainly shortchanged!

With all my love, continue to practice “The Art of Active Networking.” And please continue to show up for others in friendship and collaboration. 10’s of thousands of you will read this, please share the concept and let’s work to make this world better in every way we can.

Please no flowers, cards etc. I will be posting a way for you to donate to her favorite animal charities soon. That's what she often talked about wanting people to do for each others Birthday's, Christmas and other gift or card giving occasions!


Mark E. Sackett​

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