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
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