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They say that we all hear different drumbeats, a different music, and so we walk through life in different ways. The music Ali was listening to made his walk through life a truly beautiful one. For those of us who walked with him (for Ali never walked alone), it was a walk overflowing with warmth and affection, rich in generosity and openness, graced with authenticity and humility, infused with passion and a spirit of adventure, and marked by laughter and goodwill. It lifted all of us who walked with him – we became more than we ourselves thought possible. Walking with him was not prose, but poetry.

A head-hunter once asked me what made Ali special as a leader. I told them “if you are looking for a leader who can ‘dream, design and deliver’, Ali is your man”. Ali had a unique ability to inspire others to dream with him, motivate each person to tap into his/her undiscovered potential and dare to step out of his/her comfort zone to achieve that dream, get us to collaborate with each other even when we had radically different worldviews, celebrate our togetherness and aspire to the next summit. With patience, listening, trust, caring and respect, he modeled the way for us to relate to each other at Gustavson, and earned the enthusiastic support and commitment of the business community. Our school’s culture today reflects Ali’s values. Ali was instrumental in my stepping up to serve as the Director of International Programs and Associate Dean at Gustavson.

I’ll miss him profoundly and the world seems like a lesser place without him. He was more than a colleague, mentor and friend to me – he was like an older brother. He made me a better man, and even through his illness and till the end, left me with lessons that will guide me to reach for the finest of the human spirit. I know that if he were giving me advice now, he would tell me in his quiet way to take the time to mourn deeply and then move forward to live life fully and robustly. I shall try to do so …