05.05.2011 Uncategorized No Comments

When Laura Bush asks….

What do Bill Cosby, Colin Powell, former First Lady Laura Bush and Howard Putnam have in common?  Howard Putnam comments on his recent experience with some of the Get Motivated speakers.

In March 2011, I was asked by the Get Motivated seminar company based in Tampa, Fl, to be one of their ten speakers at all day events in San Diego (15,000 attendees) and Portland, Or (20,000). If those events went well, which they did, then we would be invited to do more. We contracted for several more.

I have been speaking for twenty two years to corporate and association conferences, but never to audiences of this size. It is a fantastic experience. In Portland I followed Bill Cosby to the platform. That was a challenge, but he does his thing and I do mine on leadership, Southwest Airlines and ethics. We each have twenty minutes on stage. The venues are all big sports stadiums like the Rose Garden in Portland and the ScottTrade Arena in St. Louis. The stage is out in the middle of the arena, so you walk around and have a 360 degree audience, amidst hi tech screens, etc. The audiences are so positive and responsive. It renews your faith in the American dream of success and free enterprise.

The well known speakers are: General Colin Powell, First Lady Laura Bush, Mayor Rudy Guiliani, Steve Forbes, Bill Cosby, Coach Lou Holtz, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and the list goes on. So I am honored to be a small part of this team of accomplished Americans.

In St. Louis, I was scheduled to speak at 3:40pm and follow Gen. Powell. Their schedule was running forty minutes behind schedule. I was getting ready to go on when the Get Motivated folks said they had a problem. Mrs. Bush was scheduled to be at another event and would I mind letting her speak before me to keep her on schedule. Of course, I agreed to switch, even though (with the thunderstorms) I might miss my Southwest flight to Chicago. Note: I did make it with a few minutes to spare that evening.

How many opportunities do you have in life to accommodate “A First Lady?” She was very gracious and came over and shook my hand backstage and thanked me profusely. She also said she had flown Southwest Airlines from Dallas to St. Louis the night before. She travels with an assistant and several secret service agents and flies commercial most of the time. On stage she told the audience of over 15,000 she had arrived the evening before on Southwest Airlines. It received a great round of applause.
Congratulations to this humble lady who flies commercial airlines. That is classy.

So what is the moral of the story here? As an Iowa farm boy I would have never dreamed I would be the CEO of two airlines, Southwest and Braniff. I would never have dreamed I would be speaking and sharing experiences to help others. And, how many opportunities in life do you get to visit in a hallway back stage with a first lady?

Howard Putnam
Former CEO Southwest and Braniff International
Co-Founder SpeakingEagles.com

write your sentence her

Leave a Reply