"I've Been Places and Done Things...
I Plan to Do Much More"
Born in Peru & Lived in North Africa
At the end of World War II, my father and some of his war buddies found work as 'doodlebuggers', looking for oil in South America. As luck would have it, he ended up in Lima Peru, where he met a young lady who would become his wife and my mother of 42 years. I was the second born of four children, two boys and two girls. Five years later, my family and I were shipped off to North Africa where I spent eleven years outrunning ghiblis and learning the fine art of riding camels. Many of my favorite thoughts from those times are centered around the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea and all that it encompassed.
My Pen Pal, Walt Disney
I was seven years old and living in Tripoli, Libya in North Africa. One of the few modern conveniences we had was an old television that would broadcast only one channel each night at 7 o’clock. My favorite show was the 'Wonderful World of Disney'. I couldn’t wait for Walt Disney to come and talk to me, as he explained the story I was about to see, through the magic of that old TV. He truly was my hero and I needed to let him know how much I loved him and all his friends. So I sat down and wrote this letter… "Dear Mr. Disney. My name is Lorraine. I am seven years old and live in Tripoli, Libya. That’s in the desert of North Africa. I love watching your show, especially when you take me on all the adventures with your friends. My favorite is Jiminy Cricket. He is fun and I would love to get a picture of him to put on my wall. Living in the desert we only have scorpions, and I can’t play with them. Thank you. Your friend, Lorraine." That one letter began a long distance relationship between a little girl living in the desert and my wonderful friend, Walt Disney.
Spent Time with Three US Presidents & Willie Nelson
President George H. W. Bush
It’s not every day one gets to sit and talk with the President of the United States. I had this opportunity with three….Presidents George
H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. It began the day I received an unexpected call from the White House, asking me to attend a meeting with President Bush and his staff.
I vividly recall the smile on my face as I hailed a cab at the DC airport and asked the driver to “please take me to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave”... I wasn’t going as a tourist; I was about to become a guest of the President. I was not alone, Ann Richards, Governor of the Great State of Texas, would be with me to discuss concerns about NAFTA. President Bush could not have been more gracious and I vividly remember how beautiful the rose garden looked on that spring day.
The second meeting with President Bush came about when I was invited to his Houston office to celebrate his retirement. He wanted to spend time with me and my coworkers to express his gratitude for the hospitality that Southwest Airlines had shown him and his team upon their return to Houston.
President Bill Clinton
President Bill Clinton attended a gala occasion in Houston. Herb Kelleher, CEO of Southwest Airlines had a seat at the Presidents’ table. Unfortunately, Herb could not attend and asked me to represent Southwest. I soon found myself surrounded by dignitaries, heads of state and industry leaders. They were telling stories only a President and CEOs could regale when I was introduced as Herb's ‘stand in’. Immediately the stories turned to their experiences with Southwest. I knew the airline was doing something right when the President and a host of dignitaries were so genuine with their compliments.
President Jimmy Carter
I spent a day with former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn in the garden of their local church in Plains, Georgia. He had written a new book and I wanted to interview the President about his latest work and discuss his recent involvement with Habitat for Humanity. He and Rosalynn were actively getting involved with Habitat and explained how his presence would bring attention to a very serious problem in America. "Everyone needs a decent place to live," he said, "and we would like to help make that happen.” He personally invigorated my sense of compassion, so when I returned to work, I got my team involved with Habitat. I consider this meeting fortuitous because it sparked my interest in charitable giving which has now become a big part of my life.
Note: My Fourth Book, 'Cooking for a Cause' depicts how the Lighthouse Charity Team has raised over $20 million for charity by cooking hot meals for 'first responders' and people in-need who live on the Texas Gulf Coast. I am very proud to sit on the board of such a worth charity.
Why would I include Willie Nelson in the same sentence with three US Presidents? Because he is a highly celebrated personality, at the top of his game, and whether you approve of his lifestyle or not, you must agree he lives life to its fullest. I was fortunate to spend time with him, if only for the day, inviting my closest friends to ‘listen in’ as he told stories of the road he’s traveled, and people he’s known. He left us with the feeling we had just spent time with a genuine human being. Despite his busy schedule, he took time to sign autographs and take pictures. I cannot think of time better spent.
First Female Owner of an American Jet Charter Company
As a young woman, fresh out of college, I chose an entry level job as a secretary in a private aviation business. Within six years, I positioned myself to start my own aviation company and became the first female in America to own and operate a private jet charter company. Looking back, I realized that a large part of my success came from the support I received from a mentor who saw my potential and encouraged me to reach for the stars.
Always looking to improve myself, I attended a meeting with a man who would head up the 'best place to work' in America… Herb Kelleher, President and CEO of Southwest Airlines. After listening to Herb speak, I knew this man could have a great influence in my life as my new mentor. I have always been one to listen to my gut and move on instinct, so I sold my charter business to my sister and began my 15 year tutelage at SWA. What I learned from this man could fill a book... and it did.
My First Book, 'Lessons in Loyalty' - How Southwest Airlines Does It, was published and began my career as a business consultant. I now teach corporate leaders the important lessons learned from Herb Kelleher and the Southwest Airlines Team. These ideals continue to be used today, helping maintain the most productive and successful business culture in America.
My Time at Southwest
During my 15 years at Southwest Airlines, I moved up through the ranks, holding key positions that gave me the insight on How to Create a Happy Workplace.
After five years in the marketing department, I advanced into a leadership position at Southwest’s ‘University for People’, a vanguard program that trains entry level employees up through and including the executive branch. The University is considered the 'backbone' of SWA continued success and Putting People First is the mantra taught throughout all levels of management at Southwest Airlines.
My last five years were spent as Director of Employment, crafting strategies and leading the effort to find and hire Southwest's renowned 'Warrior Spirits'.
Tactics on How to Develop Your Leaders
My Second Book 'Beyond the Executive Comfort Zone', describes a unique training program, patterned on a 'Disruptive Training' model. Companies who desire a cutting edge, outside of the box approach to in-house training, now have an in depth program to follow. In this book, CEO Frank Granara and I embark on a team building journey that uses an adventurous approach, making it a great primer for any firm wanting to build a superior decision making team.
I want to be relentlessly helpful when engaged to promote a safe and happy workplace at your company... Where your employees can go to be productive and feel appreciated. It’s a big job and I'm glad to help.
Results of a Happy Workplace
A Happy Workplace is the soul of great customer service and loyal employees are the result. Great customer service happens when employees go the extra mile and Herb Kelleher, CEO of Southwest Airline said it best…
"We are in the customer service business. We just happen to fly airplanes."
This statement fits any business model. You're in the customer service business no matter what product you offer. Create your own Happy Workplace and witness a change in the attitude of your people as they thrive in an atmosphere of love and trust. Your company is now on the path to acquiring the highest standard for corporate culture in America.
Recap of Lorraine's Four Books
An accomplished executive, author and public speaker, Lorraine delivers Keynote Speeches to organizations based on the principles outlined in her First Book 'Lessons In Loyalty' ... How Southwest Airlines created one of the most productive and successful business cultures in America.
This message has quickly gained momentum in the business community as a basis for companies who want to know how Southwest Airlines and other companies do it. In addition, 'Lessons in Loyalty' has been published in four countries.
In her Second Book, 'Beyond the Executive Comfort Zone' Lorraine and CEO Frank Granara embark on an extreme team building exercise like none before. This adventurous approach makes it a great primer for any firm wanting to build a loyal workforce capable of making the best possible decisions. The outrageous tactics used in this book are called Disruptive Training and they really work!
Her Third Book, 'How to Create a Happy Workplace' is the culmination of a lifetime of experience helping companies Put People First. This book gives you a guide to follow when helping your company mature into a place where people go to work because they want to, not because they have to... what a difference putting people first will make on your bottom line.
Lorraine's Fourth Book, 'Cooking for a Cause', follows a troop of Texas Volunteers who have come together to raised over $20 million for charity. Their mission is to provide hot meals for first responders and people in need. Their motto... 'People Helping People - Cooking for a Cause' is well known along the Texas Gulf Coast.
The Secret All Great Organizations Have in Common...