Monday, November 2, 2015

The Summer That Changed Me Forever: An Ode to My WHQAD team

About 1/2 of the 2001 WHQAD team who seared their way into my heart forever

63 work days.

12 weeks

1 historic tragedy experienced together.

And we are bonded for life.

That pretty much sums up my time spent at United Airlines with a team of people who will always have a special place in my heart space.

We recently got together with a larger group of United Alum as this group does ever so often. Regardless of what's going on in life, this group stops to fellowship and celebrate our time together.

I often feel like an imposter in this group. After all, you see the stats. I was not among them very long. Yet they mean a ton to me. Here's a few reasons why....

United was the first corporate job I ever got after almost 8 years in nonprofit or entertainment entities. It was my first job that I truly loved. Every second of it. It was the first place, I used my entrepreneurial skills to push the boundaries of what they hired me to do and moved my talents to solve challenges my company faced.

I was 26 weeks pregnant with my first child when I was hired at United. Yeah. That interviewing process was a scary, balancing act. I wanted to show what I had to offer while not giving away the fact that I was with child and soon to be out for a few weeks. When I got the offer and started, the balancing act continued. I wanted to demonstrate my value in a way that would make my departure to have my baby felt. I took on projects and opportunities for big visibility even as my tummy grew and grew. 

When I came "out," I'll never forget the reactions, the love, the support. Hell, these are the ONLY people in my life who have ever loved me enough AND been smart enough to pull a surprise party over my head. I'll never forget the day they convinced me to do this presentation for the new big boss Larry DeShon, only to have me walk into a baby shower with my husband in tow.

Weeks after 9/11, we gathered in the suburban home with our leader to celebrate each other, even though I was no longer with them having been part of the massive company-wide furlough after the tragedies.  It was hard to feel sad for being unemployed when other United Airlines folks lost their lives that day. Yet, I was comforted and not judged by a group of people who cared and understood even if they'd all kept their jobs. There was a camaraderie in this group that still escapes me to this day but I cherish being a small part of it.

That is just a glimpse of how powerful authentic human connections that transcend everything and make a lasting imprint on our lives, if we allow it.

"Less than 90 freaking days" I shouted many times at the event while everyone shrugged it off, laughed or questioned - "was that all the time we had with you?"

That's right. Time doesn't matter when there is a true bond with a real person.

Thanks WHQAD for being those people to me and showing me how special I am to those around me.

Friends forever.

For real.


  1. Awesome blog my friend. Just awesome. Says a lot. Etched in each others lives forever for sure. You're fabulous.

  2. So well said! It's events like these that you realize how impactful folks can be in our lives...even many years down the road. Thanks for sharing! Look forward to crossing paths again soon!

  3. Well said -- every Sept 11 rolls around, I think of all of you wonderful people and friends, to this day. Thanks for sharing, and so sorry I missed you on Sunday. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.