There is such a thing as the “International Listening Association.” It’s a wonderfully diverse group of people from different professions, academic disciplines, and cultures. One of its founders was Carole Grau, who passed away last week.
I had the pleasure of attending the ILA’s annual conference in 2017, where I met Carole and her daughter, Jennie Grau, key members of Grau Interpersonal Communication. Jennie and I were working on a CLE event with Anita Dorczak, but we had a bit of time away from preparing to sit down with Carole. Her presence was striking: an unmistakable intellect and a lifetime of wisdom, but at the same time humble, curious, and patient. In short, she was everything a great listener should be.
Carole wore many hats, including professor, consultant, speaker, and coach. She was not a lawyer but was a trained mediator with deep theoretical expertise and practical experience in conflict resolution. Also, as Jennie told me, the Grau household has a number of lawyers so their family discussions often took on a lawyerly flavor. In the short time I was able to spend with Carole, it was apparent she could handle just about any situation—personal or professional—with honesty and assertiveness. She had been struggling with serious health problem for years; despite her health challenges, she was clearly delighted to be among friends at the ILA conference, listening and in turn being listened to. When Carole spoke at that conference, everyone did really listen, showing a palpable respect and reverence for her wisdom gathered in a career spanning 50 years.
I was so sorry to hear of Carole’s passing. Working with her daughter Jennie was a highlight of 2017, and seeing the loving bond among Carole and her family was an inspiration. My hugs and condolences go out to the Grau family at this time.