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

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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®.

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Colleen and Plane

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

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Thought Leadership

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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Elizabeth Bryant

Being Well: The ROI of Being Well for Yourself and Others

If you’ve ever flown before—hopefully with Southwest!—you’re likely familiar with the inflight safety announcement to put your oxygen mask on first before attempting to help others in an emergency. Did you know the same guidance can apply to your daily life, whether professional or personal? It’s true. To be able to meaningfully care for others or lead effectively, you must take care of yourself.

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Lori Winters

Being Well: Incorporating Wellness into Corporate Culture

Life can throw us all kinds of curve balls, and I’ve personally had times when I’ve needed a little extra help—whether grieving the loss of someone close to me or dealing with my pesky knees that tend to have so much trouble! Southwest has been there every step of the way as I’ve been shown tremendous care by my Cohearts and provided with incredible benefits that help with my wellbeing

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Upcoming Events

VIRTUAL FIRESIDE CHAT

Roundtable - Coming Soon

Join us for a unique and personal virtual “Fireside Chat” as we dive into what it means to be well and lead well at work! Learn practical ways to support wellness among Employees while still leading effectively.

Take advantage of this opportunity to hear Southwest Leaders discuss the habits they’ve established to be their best at work and, in turn, bring the best out of their Team. Keep checking back for more details, and (NEW CCBI FEATURE) submit questions to be answered during the Fireside Chat. Head over to our Thought Leadership page to get started!

Stay tuned!

CULTURE CONNECTION

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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Don’t miss out! Sign up to receive the latest Thought Leadership inspiration and updated resources from the Colleen C. Barrett Institute.

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Colleen C. Barrett

The Heart of Southwest Airlines

1944—2024

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.