Connections - - they turn on lights and so much more

Light bulbs bring light, cars start, ovens cook - - all because of connections.  It can be equally effective in your personal and private lives.  This is a true story …  


When Henry Bellmon was governor (1997 – 1991), I had the privilege of traveling with First Lady Shirley Bellmon.  She was passionate about rural, home-based businesses.  This was long before cell phones internet and computer were part of our daily lives - - or even thought about for most of us.  

It was a fun time.  We would fly to a rural community, be driven by area highway patrolmen to our destination and then work with local artisans and small business owners.  I know an accountant, an attorney, Marilyn Burns from OSU Economics department, myself and the first lady were the core group.   

At some point we were in the panhandle, it was late, Marilyn and I were in Shirley’s motel room and I casually mentioned how fantastic it would be if we could get a major magazine or news organization to tell our story.  What follows is true - - it really is. 

Shirley said “I can call Barbara and ask her for help.”  Yes, it was First Lady Barbara Bush.  They had had a business together in Washington DC when their husbands were first elected to Congress.  They remained good friends.  So she contacted her “friend”….that “friend” put her in touch with an editor of Good Housekeeping.  That editor had a writer get in touch with Shirley – she gave my name to her.  The next thing I knew, I was talking with a journalist with Good Housekeeping about what we were doing in Oklahoma.   

Now go forward 2 or 3 months -  magazines do not have late-breaking stories.  And there were 3 stories of rural,  homebased Oklahoma businesses owned by women (remember Good Housekeeping was a woman’s magazine).  The connection, for me, happened in the panhandle of Oklahoma.  For Shirley, it had been many years earlier in Washington, DC. 

Connections are the life-blood for an organization’s growth, especially in the non-profit world.  And they do not have to be from the world of rescue …,,. Think about who you know…’s how I got a commercial airline to fly a group of stranded Oklahoma soccer players to Brazil.  Yes - - it is a true story.