ICF Remembers Kay Cannon, MCC (1958–2018)
Kay Cannon, MCC, ICF Global Past President, passed away on October 29, 2018, at her home in Lexington, Kentucky, USA.
Kay was an ICF Member for nearly two decades, joining in 1999 after the launch of her Executive Leadership Coaching and Consulting practice. In 2003, she earned her Master Certified Coach Credential. Her clients included Fortune 500 leaders, entrepreneurs and government and nonprofit executives.
As a volunteer leader for ICF, Kay played a vital role in advancing the Association’s high standards globally. She developed ICF’s Continuing Coaching Education standards and co-led ICF’s first coach credentialing initiative in non-English-speaking countries. In 2006, she participated in the historic 2006 Future of Coaching Summit, a gathering of global thought leaders.
Kay led the ICF Board of Directors through a comprehensive strategic planning process that established a vital map for the future of ICF and the coaching profession. During Kay’s 2007 term as ICF President, the Association achieved key milestones for credentialing (exceeding 3,200 ICF Credential-holders in October of that year) and membership (exceeding 13,000 ICF Members in November). Kay also presided over the publication of the 2007 ICF Global Coaching Study, a benchmarking piece of signature research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
As a member of the coaching team for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Kay played an integral role in the organization’s successful bid for an ICF International Prism Award. In 2014, Kay’s regional colleagues celebrated her impacts on ICF and the coaching profession by honoring her with the Thomas Leonard Achievement Award at ICF Global 2014—North America Midwest.
Kay will be remembered by her colleagues, clients and loved ones for her outstanding sense of humor, her ability to navigate tough conversations with grace, and her generous and supportive presence. Kay was an animal lover with a home full of four-legged friends. With her gifted green thumb, she served as a Master Gardener with the University of Kentucky Extension Office and a founding member of the board of directors for America in Bloom – Lexington.
Earlier this year, she married her partner, supporter and friend of more than 15 years, Lynn M. Griffis, during an intimate ceremony at home.
Kay held a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Kentucky, where she was a Singletary Scholar. A Texas native, Kay earned her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
~From International Coach Federation
It has been a painful and heartbreaking almost 7 months. Kay and I were finally able to get legally married on 4-4-18…pure joy! I now have to figure out how to navigate life without my beloved Kay and three of our precious furry loves. But, I still have our rescued 3-yr old hound Harper, our 15 yr old Tabby cat, Idgy and have welcomed a new Schnauzer puppy, Teagan to my smaller, sadder (at the moment) family.
She put up one of the most heroic fights anyone possibly could have in dealing with a terminal Glioblastoma brain tumor diagnosis similar to Senator John McCain’s, Senator Ted Kennedy’s and Beau Biden’s. However, hers was in her Thalamus which meant that any attempt to dissect or manipulate it would have left her with life-threatening physical and mental deficits. She did try both chemo and radiation for 15 days but both created two completely imminently life-threatening situations and she then chose to come home to be in Hospice care and to live as fully as possible until she died.
It has been the honor and privilege of my entire lifetime to ensure that she received the best care possible and that she knew she was deeply loved, supported and celebrated every day.
We also, sadly, lost our beloved 14 yr old Aussie Kellan, our precious 12 yr old Schnauzer Maya and our 15 yr old cat, Sakari. This is why I have been so absent here for so long. I have no adequate words to convey both my own and Kay’s deepest gratitude and thanks for all of the loving and powerful support from so many here locally and across the globe who were her beloved clients, colleagues, dear friends, caregivers and beloved family! Also special deeply held gratitude goes out to Baptist Hospital, Bluegrass Care Navigators and Central Bank for their consistent and unwavering support and ongoing care during this difficult time.
One of her main goals was to make it to 60! She did that on 9-16-18. It wasn’t the surprise trip to Ireland that I had been planning but it was a special and meaningful celebration! Also, she saved so many dogs and cats over the course of her lifetime either by bringing them home or by finding them great homes.
It has been said that any great love has the potential to “make you a better person.” She made me a better me and I know that she transformed so many other lives of the clients she served for 25 years in health care and as a highly certified Executive Coach and Human and Organizational Transformation Specialist! Kay never met a challenge she didn’t take on and master! At least she gave everything thing she ever tried to do 1,000% of her effort and commitment.
Godspeed and joy to you my most loving partner, wife, soulmate and best friend. We started talking almost 16 years ago and we didn’t stop until she died…at least towards the end we spoke in being close and touch. I can only imagine her complete peace and joy in reuniting with her furry and human loved ones now. As much as I deeply miss her physical presence now…I am so thankful that her suffering has been transformed into a new and purely loving place where her physical self will no longer betray her and what her heart and mind continued to passionately want to accomplish…will continue. So, walk our beloved pups babe. Thank you for all of your love, the purest joy possible and for always challenging me and us to be our “best and better” selves. The world and so many people and animals is a much better place for having had you here for over 60 years. You will always be my love! ❤️
~Lynn Griffis via Facebook