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I remember the first time I met Derek Zeller, he walked up to me like we had been pals for years and gave me the biggest bear hug imaginable. I had just started blogging and writing at this point so I was still very much feeling a heavy sense of imposter syndrome. But Derek was simply a different kind of dude, he was like “f* all that you get a hug.” 

At SourceCon, he literally dressed up as “the Dude” walking around all day in character…I can’t remember many times I laughed that hard at any conference ever. First impressions and Interactions like this are what we are all going the most from him….I heard the news like many in the sourcing community that he had passed away yesterday.

Shocked, sad…a little mad that 2021 has somehow turned out to be even a worse year than last year…Yes, all of that.

Then I take a step back and look at his legacy. His sourcing teachings, edgy musings about being human, and his artistic poetry. His body of work lives on and will continue to teach us and inspire this community.

Reading his writings, absorbing his teachings, and listening to his stories make all of us better at what we do…and ironically I’ve seen a more edgy side to myself come to fruition that mirrors my inner Zeller. 

As much of a wordsmith people think I am, it’s very difficult for me to write “Derek is” vs. “Derek was.”

It’s not fair, but this is real…life is fragile.

And somehow I feel him looking down from Heaven holding onto the pen…

Unfortunately for us all…Derek was 🙁 What a beautiful spirit and human being he was. 

We’ll miss you friend (and don’t let anyone jump on your cloud without a bear hug first).


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Greg Hawkes
Greg Hawkes is a Principal Sourcing Leader at M&T Bank and Creator and Founder of SourcingIRLHRSourcingToolboxHealthcareSourcingToolbox and has ongoing Speaker and Contributor for a wide array of Recruitment and Sourcing Conferences. He’s recruited and sourced in tech, healthcare, tech, mechanical/electrical/structural engineering, biotechnology, manufacturing and many other industries. Greg has covered topics ranging from Site Searches, Programmable Search Engines, to Advanced Web Scraping, Virtual Conference Infiltrations and URL Sourcing. He has been a HR/Recruitment/Sourcing Speaker on several occasions and contributed countless blogs, vlogs, webinars (and now even YouTube Shorts and TikToks) covering a wide array of sourcing strategies. He is a huge fan of emerging technologies, architecting solutions through use of technology and humanity, and most importantly finding people jobs in one of the most challenging and chaotic times we’ve ever lived in.
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