Three words to capture the way of being of John Ruggie, by Mark Hodge

Anna Triponel
3 min readDec 3, 2021

Over the past month, we have been celebrating the life of a great man. John Ruggie. I have been so touched by the beauty of the remarks I’ve heard at John’s memorials in Boston and in London. I wanted to share publicly (with his permission) the words shared with us by Mark Hodge (Sr. Associate at Shift) in London because I feel they capture so beautifully who John was as a person.

Remarks by Mark Hodge

It is beyond an honour to be with you all today, sharing memories and reflections about John.

Thank you, Mary, and Andreas, for the touching invitation to say a few words.

As has been spoken of today, John’s work drew together a profoundly diverse — at times divided — community of people and institutions to work towards the common goal of putting dignity and respect at the heart of how business gets done in the world.

And yet, to my mind, John’s greatest gift to us — certainly to me as a once young professional, and a now father — is a way of being. A way of being that may carry as much power to achieve profound, and positive, impact in the world as his remarkable professional achievements.

I’d like to take the next few minutes to focus on this. To focus on the qualities that John modelled. Three such qualities stand out most to me.

First, generosity. John offered his time and encouragement to everyone — no matter your public stature or lack of one, your age or gender, or your sense of power or powerlessness.

And he somehow managed to do so with an authentic presence: always right there in the moment not glancing ahead to what was next. Even when interactions challenged his logic, ideas or even intent…John remained generous. He knew that this generosity — not negotiated texts — was at the heart of how we meet minds and work together.

Second, elegant ferocity. John simply knew when it was time to stand firm…to stand up for what he believed was the right course to take. But how he did this is perhaps as instructive to us as when he did it. He modelled a brand of strength that was not harsh or crass or hammer wielding…but rather a brand of strength that I can only describe as elegant. Something we need more of, not least from men in positions of power and influence, in the world.

Third, Integrity. John’s illustrious career was testament to his intellectual integrity. But something about John gave one the sense that he had the integrity of character required to tackle any task at hand and bring all of us along with him. For all the words on paper and chatter in rooms, I often felt it was through Johns’ mischievous smile and the twinkle in his eye that this integrity beamed through. You just knew this was a good man who meant business.

I’d like to end with words of thanks, to Mary and Andreas. Thank you for letting us share in these precious moments of remembrance with you. And most of all, thank you for everything you must have done to support John be who he was and how he was, with all of us.

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Anna Triponel

Business & human rights advisor. Empowering companies to be human rights confident. Founder of Human Level. https://www.wearehumanlevel.com