Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Meeting Colleen

Not applicable

The first time I met Colleen was at our Maintenance hangar somewhere around late October or early November of 2003. She and Herb had come to our facility to accept a gift on behalf of the Mechanics. I had seen her many times before since I joined Southwest Airlines in 1997, but this was the first time I was in hugging distance.

I was in awe of being in the presence of two living legends, but as they both do so well, they make you feel very comfortable around them. After the presentation, the cameras came out, and Herb was instantly swarmed for photos, and Colleen was visiting with Coworkers and answering their questions, while at the same time keeping Herb "in line." It was at this time that I approached her and asked if I could have my picture taken with her. She said, ”excuse me”… as my heart stopped for a second or two. I asked again, and she smiled and said, "I’m sorry I didn’t hear you. I’m so use to people wanting their picture taken with Herb only.” Since then, I have had my picture taken with Colleen a few more times, and as a Corporate Culture Committee Member, I have had the opportunity to hear Colleen speak on many different subjects. The advice and recommendations she gives to the group have helped me at work as well as in my personal life.

I was honored to be featured with Colleen on southwest.com’s "Share the Spirit" page spotlighting Employee involvement in worthy organizations, and that is the proudest moment for me so far at Southwest Airlines.

Colleen I want to say thank you for your motherly leadership during your time as President of Southwest Airlines. You will be missed.

Luv “G”

4 Comments
Not applicable
You are so lucky! I have always wanted to meet Colleen! I am 14, and I contact airline executives, I have gotten an autograph from Richard Anderson (DL), Fred Ried (AA,DL,VX) and Bill Diffenderffer (SX), and I have always wanted to meet Colleen and Herb! Collen has been one of the reasons on why I want to go into the airline industry! I have listened to a couple of her speeches and I luv her! I really want to contact her, I have been reading 'Colleen's Corner' on the Southwest website for as long as I can remember, would anyone know how I can contact her? Because she has been a big part of making me LUV aviation, I really want to get her to autograph something for me! anyways good luck on wherever your future travels may take you colleen & herb! "Either think and act big and grow smaller, or think and act small and grow bigger."-Herb Kelleher
Not applicable
This will come as no big surprise to most of you, but the first time I consider meeting Colleen was through a penpal relationship! I started my career at SWA as a Flight Attendant in 1987. After I had a few years under my belt, I wrote a letter to Colleen expressing my concerns and of course some suggestions regarding our uniform and appearance standards. (I laugh now knowing how near and dear the subject of uniforms is to her! I did not request a response in my letter to her, I just wanted to share my thoughts. Wow! I was pleasantly surprised when I received an obviously personally written response from her. I became a big fan that day and hoped that I would be able to meet her someday! A year or so later, my wish came true. It was my second day on the job in Inflight Training and the Training Team had been invited to lunch with Colleen. I introduced myself to her. She immediately, said "Well hello Ms. Abercrombie, you and are penpals aren't we!". I couldn't believe that she had put two and two together, right there on the spot, regarding one letter she and I wrote to each other over a year ago! I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the lunch time together and hearing how much she supported Inflight. I became an ever bigger fan! Over the years, I've been able to work on several issues with Colleen. She and I haven't always agreed. I have learned so many things through her, too many to list. However, one of the most important things I learned from her is to listen to others. And how it is important to make others feel comfortable enough to share their opinions in order to make the best decisions. Listen to others, especially when you don't agree. I will do my best to carry on her legacy in my own little way. She truly cares about each of us and I will always be grateful for her Leadership, sacrifice, and carrying ways. Thank you Colleen. I love you too! Lauren
Not applicable
Gordon--enjoyed reading this story. Could I possible have an 8 1/2 x 11 colored copy of our picture--it would be proudly displayed in my home. Thank you for your many, many contributions to enhancing and enriching our very own homegrown and oh so special SWA Culture. Love you. Colleen
Not applicable
Lucky! Colleen is such an inspiration. I hope to meet her some day!