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  • I received a short, 3 line e-mail just about a year ago, from my good friend and executive coach, Maureen, mentioning a web-site her husband had come across. I had long since learned to check out anything she recommended, as there have been numerous books and articles that have really helped me to become a better leader, and a better person, that she has just casually mentioned in coaching sessions.

    I’m her “pro-bono” case – she’s going for a certain level of coaching certification, and has to do so many hours of “free” coaching - I’m the lucky recipient of that! (A girl I mentor always tells me, "Pete, you're the luckiest person I know!" I can't disagree with her - I'm pretty damned lucky).

    Our coaching relationship began a little over 3 years ago, when I was moving into a new leadership position, and she wanted my assistance in developing a curriculum for a college class she was developing, on “Storytelling and Leadership”. She’d been my Leadership Development Team’s Facilitator when I went through the Federal Executive Institute’s intensified, month-long residential program, “Leadership For a Democratic Society” back in 2008, and we’d stayed in touch.

    She offered up a year of free coaching in exchange for my assistance. 3+ years later, we still meet monthly, it’s still free, and her coaching has been simply invaluable.

    During the time she’s coached me, I’ve been sent in as the director of 2 different critical organizations that were floundering with poor morale and lousy customer service records, and turned them completely around, one in 10 months time, the other in 5. Both are now held up as examples for others to follow, of the way organizations should be run, and are being led by people I brought in and taught everything I know, and continue to mentor. I’ve been tapped to serve two 5-month stints at the senior executive level of the organization during major organizational transitions last year and the year before, and helped to craft a Department-wide streamlined infrastructure model that has already saved taxpayers more than $200 Million.
  • Now they have me leading 5 different major agency initiatives, each of which will have a significant impact on how we do business, and how we perform inspection. This isn’t bragging (well, maybe a little) - this is to illustrate the fact that, left to my own devices, I probably couldn’t have done any of this. Having a coach like Maureen to process the many changes I’ve had to sort through to get all of this done has been beyond valuable to me. I simply couldn’t have done it. She inspires, she reels me back in, she reminds me to keep centered – once, she even reminded me about my morning quiet time, when I was in a total funk, and that was exactly what the problem was.

    She helps me to keep my eye on the ball, to focus on what’s important, and to always question what is really going on, when I am stuck or struggling with any given issue.

    But, the most impactful thing she has done, was send this simple 3 line e-mail, nearly a year ago. I had just returned from a 10 day vacation and was swamped with things to do. But, it was Maureen, and like I said, when Maureen suggests something, I’ve learned to try it. Coming from anyone else, I probably would have said, “Yeah, that’s cool, maybe sometime I’ll get around to checking that out, sometime when I have a moment to breathe.”

    • Cowbird • About‏

    To Pete
    From: Maureen

    Sent: Thu 3/15/12 11:47 AM
    To: Pete Bridgeman (

    Pete, I've told my husband, David, about your gift of storytelling. He found out about the attached website and thought you might be interested. Talk with you next week!



    Somehow, with everything else I have going on in my busy life, I have made significant room for Cowbird. I’m still as busy with everything else. Cowbird just makes it all feel a little more real…which is kind of strange, since it is nearly all through cyber-connections! I’ve only actually met one of you, so far.

    The connections I’ve made here, the amazing stories I’ve read and loved (over 13,400) by incredible storytellers the world over, the loving audience who has read my numerous daily scribblings, answered my questions, ridden with me on my own journeys through the past; the support I received from this global community as I processed walking the last mile of her life with my incredible mother – have all been every much as real to me as anything else in my life, this past year.

    To think – it all began with this 3 line e-mail that I easily could have just deleted and never followed up on.

    Kind of glad I didn’t click “Delete”.

    Thanks, Maureen!

    So – how did you find Cowbird?
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