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Posted at 11:47 a.m. on April 14, 2014
Arnie Thomas, a former senior vice president at CQ Roll Call, former director of LEGI-SLATE at The Washington Post, president of the A Thomas Group and mentor to scores of co-workers over the years, died of a heart attack on April 12. He was 66 years old.
Thomas was an advocate for his colleagues and believed that the best way for them to do great things was to encourage them to be authentic. In an interview with CQ Roll Call, he said, “To be authentic, you will never need to take off your masks and reinvent yourself. It takes so much time and energy to put the masks on and so much drama to take them off. Integrity defines you as a person of trust, and trust will continue to open the doors to opportunities.”
He had a host of professional accomplishments at both CQ Roll Call and the Post. He helped build the client base for the D.C. office of Gallery Watch. He served on the board of directors for Running Start, an organization dedicated to inspiring and promoting young women to positions of leadership. He authored Everyday Mentor, a newsletter and column for the D.C. website Cloture Club.
But Thomas was most effusive about mentoring others. “I often encourage my clients to mentor others,” he wrote in Everyday Mentor. “Mentoring not only helps the mentee to grow personally and professionally but it also creates an opportunity for the mentor to gain fulfillment through the development of others, personal rejuvenation, a larger support community and an opportunity of greater self-awareness. Plus, frankly it just feels good!”
“I worked with him for 23 years,” said Lisa McAvoy, a product development manager at CQ Roll Call.” I saw him through so many professional and personal highs and lows. He never lost his integrity or his zest for living. He took people for where they were and moved them forward. It was a remarkable gift. He was the youngest 66 I ever met.”
Thomas is survived by his wife, Mary Crow of Linthicum, Md.; sister Gertrude Barnes; son Matthew Thomas, daughter-in-law Andrea and grandson Raphael of Sao Paulo. He spoke fondly of Brazil, and had recently visited his family there in March.
“Arnie taught me that even in a digital age, relationships matter,” said Kenny Ames, a former director of client services for CQ Roll Call who considered Arnie his mentor. “He became the ‘best kept secret’ in Washington through his experiences and his outlook on life.”
There are many unforgettable lessons from Arnie Thomas; he touched all of those who knew him well. In a world where people change jobs frequently and co-workers don’t always take the time to know one another, he was the rare find who invested time and energy in others. He believed in mentoring and often said that mentoring produced some of his finest work, and he was proud when he could help guide others toward greater success.
Arnie, you will be missed.