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Jeanne Brett

Michele and I share heritage. We both have PhDs in psychology at the University of Illinois. But that is not where we met! Her PhD is newer than mine by 24 years! When I retired a few years ago, I sent her my academic regalia with the orange and blue U of I stole. I doubt the 8 cornered tam fits her head. Michele has a bigger brain than I do!

We met on a panel on culture and negotiation at the 1999 IACM conference in San Sebastian Spain. My clearest memories of that conference are not of Michele, but the trip to the Guggenheim in Bilbao to see the Richard Serra sculptures and then everyone got sick! Michele says she pitched the idea of co-editing a special issue or chapter book on negotiation and culture then and I was uninterested. Apparently, she persisted, isn’t that like Michele, and I had the good sense to change my mind. By the 2001 IACM in France, Michele had Jeanette, Jeannette had a purple swimsuit baby gift from me – a good thing too it was really, really hot at that conference, and we had a book contract with Stanford University Press. We hosted a negotiation and culture conference with the chapter authors at Northwestern in October 27, 2001.

Michele got Dean Pruitt to write a forward to the book, which is where you can find his famous question: What would have happened if social science had started elsewhere in the world, for example, in China or Japan, rather than in the West? We turned the book into Stanford in the summer of 2002 and Stanford sent it back to us in the Spring of 2003 saying the book was too long; cut 20 percent! This was the start of a running joke between us. Michele writes and I cut it by 20 percent.

How many of you have worked with Michele at Plato’s Diner? I have, too. We brainstormed the outline of our chapter "A cultural analysis of the underlying assumptions of negotiation theory" there. What will Plato’s do without Michele working in the back room? Where will she find a Plato’s substitute in Palo Alto? Is it possible to find a Plato’s substitute?

Our next joint project, with more time at Plato’s, was what I call the "At Your Service" study. I think it’s our only joint empirical work. It was an ambitious slog collecting negotiation data in Taiwan and the U.S. on dyads and teams. Michele never stopped believing in that study! And I kept going back to Taiwan for more data. We learned a lot and we definitely put culture in context.

Our most recent collaboration was the 2018 Culture and Negotiation conference at Kellogg and resulting NCMR special issue. Michele, writing the outstanding "Rule Makers, Rule Breakers," leading numerous grants and contracts doing research all over the world. How could I ask her to do one more thing? But I did, and of course Michele stepped right up. She delivered the cultural experts I so wanted the negotiation community to learn from. She also wrote the introduction to the NCMR special issue and I only cut it by about 5 percent! Michele, do you ever say no? Well yes you did, twice to Kellogg offering you a job, but I forgive you, at least a little for that.

These two conferences have book cased Michele and my working relationship. What an honor to have had the opportunity to work with you, Michele. Your intellectual bravery and theoretical insight, your drive and your humor, your confidence and your caring. I could go on and on. There is no better colleague and mentor than Michele Gelfand. Her academic contributions are not just to the knowledge base but to the people all over the world she engages with in generating that knowledge. I am honored to be one of those people.

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