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

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DE&I: Equity

Last month, we highlighted how important diversity is at Southwest Airlines. We continue to focus on increasing our diverse talent pipelines so we better represent the communities that we serve.

Additionally, we want our Employees to feel included as part of the Southwest Family. Inclusion is about each of us feeling valued and appreciated for the unique talents and perspectives we offer. Every Southwest Employee should feel that their Leaders and their Cohearts embrace and support them for the authentic views and experiences they bring each and every day. 

In 2021, over 24 million American employees left their jobs. In a recent study analyzing why these employees departed, researchers determined that disrespect and lack of inclusivity were the top two reasons these individuals resigned¹. Make no mistake about it, at Southwest, we work every day to create an environment that is both respectful and inclusive. We are committed to building a Culture of belonging by inviting and welcoming the contributions of others. We know that every voice adds value and when we recognize that value among our Cohearts, this is demonstrated in how we value and interact with our Customers.

Inclusivity takes intention. At times, this might mean reflecting on what we don’t know so that we better value others’ perspectives. It might mean inviting feedback so that we know how we can better include others in the conversation and dialog. It might also mean recognizing our mistakes and growing from them. In August, Southwest’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Team hosted our 2022 Inclusion Summit. This year’s focus was Allyship into Action. We are allies when we show empathy to others and when we can imagine what someone might be thinking or feeling. We are allies when we exhibit compassion and concern about how someone else is feeling. Being an ally is one way to foster an inclusive environment, but ally isn’t a noun – it’s a verb. We are allies we when we put our empathy and compassion into action.

We won’t always agree, but that is not the objective of an inclusive environment. We achieve inclusivity when we remain respectful, when we continue collaborating, and when we learn from one another. 


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Juan Suarez

Vice President, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

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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