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September 2019 Newsletter

I hadn't planned on dedicating this month's newsletter to National Public Radio and ABC News journalist Cokie Roberts, but upon hearing of her passing today at the age of 75, I had to share some of the things that she taught me.

In the summer of 1988, as a newly minted graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, I had a summer internship at NPR. For a couple of weeks, I was assigned to work for Cokie. Other interns were jealous of my assignment because Cokie, who was already famous, was known as somebody who treated her interns well.

The first day I met her, she invited me to accompany her to Capitol Hill for a story on who George H.W. Bush might name as his vice presidential running mate. We entered the US Capitol at a running clip (Cokie was on deadline) and I was impressed that everybody we passed, including the security guards and janitors sweeping the halls, greeted Cokie warmly. She smiled back at everyone and exchanged pleasantries along the way.

In the office of Senator Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico), I fumbled with the recording equipment. Cokie noticed that I was sweating and nervous. Rather than being upset, she smiled and told me not to worry. Just as soon as she helped me check the audio levels and start the recording, the bell went off in the Capitol Building calling the senators to vote. Senator Domenici jumped out of his chair to run to the Senate floor with Cokie and I tailing after him.

As we tried to follow Senator Domenici into the elevator, the doors started to close on us. At the very last minute, a large hand forced the doors back open. They belonged to Senator Al Gore (D-Tennessee). As Cokie interviewed Senator Domenici about his interest in becoming vice president, Senator Gore looked bemused. He interrupted the interview by joking, “Hey Pete, why would you ever want to be vice president? That’s a nothing job.” Right after that, the elevator doors flung open and the two senators rushed off to vote.

I’ve often thought about the irony of that conversation. It was just four years later that Senator Gore accepted Clinton’s offer to serve as his vice president in the 1992 presidential election. However, today I’m thinking about the conversation from a different perspective. That day, I witnessed the tremendous connection that Cokie had forged with two of America’s most powerful politicians. Yet, I also saw how well she related to average people in the US Capitol and how she treated everyone with kindness. Cokie taught this former sweaty NPR intern a valuable lesson that building relationships with others is something that should be done no matter how busy and famous you might be.

While the press will likely celebrate Cokie’s journalistic achievements, I’m sure that many who knew her will remember her best for how she treated others with respect and good humor and what she taught them about the importance of building strong relationships. 

Patrick Galvin, Chief Galvanizer
The Galvanizing Group
Author of The Connector's Way

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Greg Bahlman is the founder of Tribemine.com, a site dedicated to the power and potential of business networking and how it relates to marketing, entrepreneurship, and business in general. Greg and I use different terminology (networking vs. connecting), but we share the same appreciation and enthusiasm for business relationship building.

Greg is an excellent writer and covers a range of relationship building topics (example: "networking for people who absolutely hate networking"). To read his review of The Connector's Way,
click on this link. Scroll to the bottom to watch my video response to Greg's questions about the writing of the book and be sure to check out the rest of the site.

About This Newsletter

Since 2002, The Galvanizing Group has operated on the principle that great relationships are the difference between failure and success in business. Our newsletter is filled with stories, tips & ideas for creating the connections that galvanize success. Be assured that your information will NEVER be shared and that you may unsubscribe any time by clicking the link at the bottom of every email. Thank you!
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