Vol. 46, No. 1
Sartain recalls a 1993 meeting with the leadership team of Southwest Airlines that truly illustrates the value of her involvement as a volunteer with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). During the meeting, someone asked Herb Kelleher, Southwest’s president and CEO, how President Clinton’s national health care proposal might affect the airline.
Kelleher called on Sartain to answer the question.
Sartain was prepared. After serving on the SHRM Compensation and Benefits Committee, she had assumed the role of committee chair earlier that year. The committee, it turns out, had already thoroughly discussed Clinton’s health care proposal and drafted an SHRM position principle on health care reform.
"I stood up and told the group that I was very familiar with the Clinton health care plan. I knew how it could affect Southwest, and I told them that we needed to be concerned about certain aspects of it," Sartain says. "The people in the meeting suddenly took notice, and many were thinking: ‘Whoa, she read that whole proposal and really knows and understands this issue.’ For me, it was an important moment because it really showed that I could contribute on a strategic level, beyond just designing the benefit and compensation plans."