Finding True Passion

Frederick Jerant Executive Features, Forefront Exclusive, Foresight Leave a Comment

Vice President of Southwest Airlines University’s Elizabeth Bryant shares how a life-changing event caused her to find her passion.

by Frederick Jerant

When your child develops a serious chronic medical condition, your world is upended. Sympathy for the child is compounded by a sense of helplessness – you want to make things right again…but you can’t. It’s easy to circle the wagons in that situation. You focus your energies on your family and its need to cope with the new reality. Everything else can wait. But some parents choose to use that situation as a reason to help themselves by helping others.

Elizabeth Bryant, vice president of Southwest Airlines University, understands first-hand the experience of a crushing diagnosis. But she’s also a parent who became determined to fight back Two years ago, Bryant’s 11-year-old daughter, Audrey, had a routine examination that became anything but routine. She spent a week in Children’s Medical Center of Dallas following a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.

That life-changing event gave Bryant a new life passion: helping to find a cure for diabetes while teaching her daughter to be empowered and proactive.That commitment led to many speaking engagements and raising funds whenever possible on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. When she approached Southwest about supporting the 2014 “Walk for a Cure,” the company provided the venue, and her colleagues came through in spades.

“There was no company memo, no formal request for help, but many people volunteered to set up and work the event – and several pilots showed up in uniform for photo ops!” she says.

Southwest also supported the local JDRF’s annual gala by sponsoring a table and providing three Tickets for Time. Bryant adds that the local group raised $1.3 million that night.

Frederick Jerant is a Freelance Writer at Forefront Magazine.

Elizabeth Bryant was featured in issue 14 of Forefront Magazine.

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