Diversity has been woven into the fabric of our organization since its inception. Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines co-founder and former CEO, once said that before Southwest started flying, only business people and the very wealthy were able to fly. In a sense, by introducing low-fare air travel, Southwest not only democratized the skies but also diversified the skies. This principle has become even more critical as we expand to serve new communities and continue to hire individuals who reflect the communities we serve.
At Southwest Airlines, we are always striving to do better and in 2020, we made some bold and meaningful commitments to enhance diversity within our organization. We know that companies aren’t judged solely on their words but on their actions, and I am proud of the actions Southwest has taken to improve diverse representation in our People. Thanks to our CEO, Bob Jordan, our commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce is highlighted as one of our Foundational Five Strategic Priorities for the next five years. Southwest’s Diversity Hiring Center of Excellence engages with community partners, educational institutions, and many others with the goal of diversifying the talent pipeline for open positions at Southwest. Southwest’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Annual Report was released last spring detailing racial and gender diversity data across the organization and outlining our DE&I priorities and path forward.
We realize that we have work to do and that change takes time. Still, I am honored to be a part of a Company that is not only willing to take a stand for diversity, equity, and inclusion but is willing to take intentional steps to make a difference. Herb Kelleher, also said, “The business of business is People.” We are a Company of People and that means ALL People. Enhancing diversity is a journey and we know it takes Every. Single. One. Of. Us.