About 10 years ago, I was in New York for a holiday and by chance, I happened to be in town when there was an entrepreneurs event with Jack Welch.

I sat down with my friends who were also in business and watched Jack Welch talk about his story of how he changed GE and his philosophies on business.
A reason, a season, a lifetime - why are people in your life?

Afterwards there was a book signing. In the line after me, eagerly awaiting our turn to have his first book personally signed, was a man by the name of Tommy Mendes. He owned a highly successful national retail chain selling ladies shoes called Plaza Two. We started to talk and then he joined us for a drink afterwards. We got on famously. From that time on, we were friends. We have shared personal stories of our journey in life covering everything from our families, to business, relationships and happiness. He introduced me to social media. From asmallworld.net to facebook, blogging and pinterest - and I am supposed to be the marketer!

He has been incredibly kind to me and has over the years given me a New York base in West Village where he has let me stay over and over again. We have dined, shopped, partied, had beauty treatments and talked to the wee hours of the morning. Our friendship is strong and very loyal.

We have a collage of pictures of our journey as friends that is amazing. I have painted him a picture of Sydney Harbour that is on his wall in his very cool apartment in West Village. He sent me a DVD full of his favourite songs and for me, that was one of the most awesome gifts anyone has ever sent me. He has been there when my luggage arrived 5 days late without my uninsured Chanel handbags (I lost 3 on that trip), cowboy boots and 2 ski jackets. We laughed it off and decided that there was no reason to cry over spilt milk. However, I think I will shed a tear today over one of the bags, as I have never seen anything so beautiful in my life and no matter how far and wide I have looked, there has been no replacement.

They say people come into your life for 'a reason, a season or a lifetime'. The latter is most appropriate in this case. A friend for a lifetime is someone to be treasured. It's hard to realise in the first couple of years, if a person will be there to watch you grow old, but with Tommy, I know our journey has just begun.

He sold his business a couple of years ago and is now one of the most anticipated fashion and people photographers in New York. I always knew he had an eye for taking a great photograph and to see how successful he has become is just a wonderful experience.

Photographs are important. In business, often people don't realise just how important it is. People think they know you from looking at your photograph. They read your face, whether they meant to or not.

If you have invested in a heads and shoulders portrait that you send out to media or have placed on your website - think about what that represents. Having a photographer who can capture the essence of you, like Tommy Mendes can and always will, always tells a better story.

So, trash your corporate photos, fly to New York and have Tommy Mendes take your photo or find a local photographer with a good eye.

website www.tommendes.com

blog  beautyandpain

twitter tommymphotos

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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