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

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Communication: Communicating Culture Through Social Media

As the airline with Heart, we see amazing stories each day from Employees and Customers. We leverage our social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook,Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn to celebrate these authentic connections that take place across our large operation and, in turn, make the world feel a little smaller and sweeter! 

In the last few weeks, we have celebrated a 75-year-old man named Harvey who always wanted to be a Flight Attendant (watch here), hosted nearly 70 students after their teacher went viral for a classroom “trip” to Mexico (watch here), and surprised a Veteran traveling on an Honor Flight with his son, a Southwest Airlines Captain, piloting the flight (watch here).

We often hear that the world needs more positive stories, and we’ve found that serving up genuine Southwest stories is a highly engaging way to cultivate connections across our social platforms. In addition to storytelling, we have a Team dedicated to engaging with our followers in fun ways to share the Southwest Hospitality for which our airline is known.

The power of social media is real, and we leverage it for good. There are countless stories of our Employees helping return lost items found on a plane, Customers finding their soulmate because of our seating policy, Employees who are family members flying together, and more. I also have to give a shout out to the Swifties that fly with us because the internet loves them, seen here as a plane full of fans engage in a fun sing-a-long while waiting to push back!

How grateful are we to have an opportunity to connect people to what’s important in their lives and to celebrate these sparkly moments. Our President Emeritus Colleen Barrett (namesake of the CCB Institute!) and our Founder Herb Kelleher always said it was our People who made this airline special, and it’s no different today. Our Employees are the reason we have such incredible Customer Service and Culture-building stories to tell. Quite simply, we have good People doing good things across our system every single day. Social media is the gateway to sharing those moments with the world!

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Whitney Eichinger

SVP and Chief Communications Officer (at the time of publication)

View Thought Leaders Recommended Resources

Do you have questions for our Southwest Leaders about what it means to Lead Well? For a limited time, you will have the opportunity to submit your questions for a Southwest Thought Leader to answer in our next Virtual Fireside Chat.

Submit your questions in the box below, and be sure to keep an eye out for an email announcing the opening of registration for the Virtual Fireside Chat!

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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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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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