It is with great sadness that I pass on the news that “Bob the BA” Prentiss has lost his battle with cancer.
The last few years Badass Bob worked to start the Uncommon League. Their website stated,
“On Monday, September 14th, surrounded by his family and friends, Bob Prentiss ended his battle with cancer. Bob faced cancer the same way he faced every challenge in life: he met it head-on, revised his plans, and did everything he could in the time he had left.”
Bob’s knowledge, time, and energy was integral in growing the profession of Business Analysis in Minnesota. Bob was a founding member of the Minnesota IIBA Chapter. His devotion to the BA professional community helped to build one of the strongest chapters in the U.S. His impact as Past President of that organization is still felt today as BA remains a strong profession in the Twin Cities area.
Personally, I first heard Bob speak at a conference at the Earle Brown Center – so long ago that I forgot which one. As a newly hired training coordinator, I was scouting instructors to add to “my bench” at North Hennepin Community College. I attended a session taught by Bob that was interactive and energetic, and even as an English major working in higher education, I found take-aways I could use. While the timing was not right for a partnership, over the years, I sought out opportunities to hear Bob speak/teach many times, and I learned something useful each time. I found Bob’s techniques especially useful when I would meet with clients to determine their training needs. And, I continue to use them still.
When I started in my role to build a professional development program at Metro State, I approached Bob to be an instructor with us. The timing worked for us both, and we launched and piloted a non-credit BA Certificate. As a start-up, we used Bob in a very, very part-time capacity – as we did with all our instructors. However, even with our inconsistent deployment, whenever I contacted Bob, he was responsive and eager to make sure our students and clients received an outstanding learning experience.
As I reflect on my biggest lesson learned with Bob, it is to listen. Bob taught me better ways to listen to what people needed- and more accurately, use the listening to help them discover what they needed. At work, the listening could be related to improving a business or training experience, but I find that I use those same listening skills with my family and friends. I may not actually draw the boat to do the Anchor and Sail, but I ask the questions: What is preventing you from moving forward with buying the house you want? What is helping you embrace the idea of retirement?
I will continue to use the lessons I learned from Bob to find more opportunities to listen and discover. And, in today’s world, what better tribute could we all pay to Bob than to listen to those around us?