The Colleen C. Barrett Institute for Cultural Excellence & Customer Service

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with resources from the Colleen C. Barrett Institute

About the Colleen C. Barrett Institute

The Colleen C. Barrett Institute exists to honor the legacy of Colleen C. Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, by providing resources that help others learn from her example and make their own remarkable impact in their organizations and our world.
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When I was approached about headlining an institute about the Culture and Customer Service of Southwest Airlines®, I confess it took me a little while to get used to the idea. There are few things I shy away from more than being the center of attention.

I’ve always been most comfortable “behind the scenes,” even as Southwest Airlines began to grow years ago (and my position along with it). I was truly just one piece of a much larger relationship between our Company, our Employees, and our Customers. As Southwest Airlines grew, we all grew. It was our experiences together that led to good ideas, that became good practices, that helped define our own way of thinking about work, taking care of our People, and being in selfless service to others.

Our sense of Family is at the Heart of our Culture and Customer Service, and I could not feel more privileged to be part of it and to welcome you as you explore the truly unique elements of our story on the CCBI website. I hope you will stay awhile, laugh a little, and maybe learn something new about LUV®.


Colleen and Plane

“Leadership is not a title.
It’s a way of life.”


Thought Leadership

june 24 tl article
Adam Carlisle

Leading Well: Navigating One on One Conversations

At Southwest Airlines, we pride ourselves in putting our People first—whether that’s your Fellow Employee (Coheart) sitting next to you in a meeting or the Customer you’re helping board one of our planes. In my more than 16 years working at Southwest, I’ve had many opportunities to see that People-first mentality modeled by Leaders (first established by our beloved President Emeritus, the late Colleen Barrett).

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Colleen Barrett

Special Edition: Colleen on Sustaining Strong Performance

Have you ever wondered why Southwest Airlines receives such an incredible amount of media coverage? Obviously, we have a wonderful Public Relations Department making sure our accomplishments and activities don’t go unnoticed, but the mere fact that we are a “successful airline” – two words most people think don’t go together – makes us newsworthy. It also leaves us- and everything we do open to scrutiny.

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april feature article
Chris Johnson

Leading Well: Connecting with People

From the times I engaged with Herb Kelleher (Founder of Southwest Airlines) and Colleen Barrett (CCB Institute namesake!) early in my career, I learned from them the true value of giving your People your time and attention and seeing them for who they are instead of just the positions they fill. To me, that means you have to remember your Teams are made up of unique individuals and never forget the “Golden Rule” when you have the opportunity to connect with someone.

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Upcoming Events

From our partners

October 26 • Southwest Culture Connection

We are thrilled to share an in-depth learning opportunity to advance your culture-building journey from our friends at The Fellowship. The Fellowship hosts the world’s preeminent workplace culture masterclass and, this year, it will take place right in our backyard in Fort Worth, Texas on November 11-13.

The 3-day experience is specifically designed for people leaders to learn from culture pioneers like Southwest Airlines and other brands that we love, including Chick-fil-A and Nike. Attendees will strategize and problem-solve alongside other people-focused visionaries and will leave with a custom-built culture roadmap and a lasting network of valuable connections.

being well


Join us for a free, Virtual Gathering presented by The CCB Institute, which honors the Life, Leadership, and Legacy of the late Colleen C. Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines. Hear from Southwest Airlines Vice President Total Rewards Lori Winters and three Southwest Employees as they discuss their own personal wellness journeys and how prioritizing wellbeing also helps bring out the best in those around them. Sign up today to hear encouraging stories and actionable takeaways for how to nurture your own wellbeing and that of your Teams and organizations.


October 26 • Southwest Culture Connection

Southwest Culture Connection offers a rare opportunity to experience one of the world’s most admired and enduring organizational cultures—up close! Learn from current and former Southwest Airlines’ Leaders and leave equipped with actionable items to help develop, grow, or reinvigorate your own company culture. Stay tuned for updates on what’s in store for 2024!

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Colleen C. Barrett

The Heart of Southwest Airlines


We are deeply saddened to share that Southwest Airlines President Emeritus, and our Queen of Hearts, Colleen Barrett has passed away. The Southwest Airlines Family has created a special page that honors her life. Visit