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

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september 23 TL 2

Nurturing Culture: As a Coheart

One of the most endearing qualities (among many!) that I’ve admired about Colleen is the seamless connection she made between the families we serve as our Customers and the families we serve as our Employees. It really is that simple. In her words, “Our approach to Customer Service was going to be the same internally as it was externally, and I think that’s why we’ve been so successful in terms of getting people to really understand the mission of Southwest Airlines.”

She is right. Since day one, our Company has endeavored to treat everyone we encounter as though they are Family—Employees, Customers, city officials, vendors, contractors, community partners…the list goes on. This Servant’s Heart philosophy is a core component of our Culture, as well as a foundational piece of our business success over the past 52 years. However, when it comes to our own People, Colleen has always had an extra special place in her Heart. Over two decades ago, her love was transformed into action when she established a unique Team within her office solely dedicated to caring for our Southwest Family. Originally called “Internal Customer Care” (recently renamed “Coheart Care”), this small but mighty Team exists to bridge the gap between work and home for our Employees. Strong families care for one another through good times and the most difficult moments. They help pick up the pieces when we are broken, and they are the first to cheer our achievements. That spirit is captured in this excerpt from our Coheart Care message to new Employees:

“From the very moment you become an Employee, you join our world-famous Culture of caring… At the center of Coheart Care, is the desire to support our People on behalf of [current CEO] Bob Jordan during both heartwarming and heartbreaking moments. Whether you’re expanding your family, celebrating a child graduating from high school or college, preparing for surgery, navigating grief after loss or any other circumstance that is significant to you, we want to fly alongside you. Life is often unpredictable, but the love of your Cohearts is something you can count on.”

It is a Southwest career highlight (35 years!) and personal privilege for me to be able to support this special Team in the Executive Office, whose work is so central to our Culture. Every day brings an opportunity to support our People either through embracing a new event in someone’s life or making sure we stay in touch with those whose personal journey is not yet over. While we realize that an Employee’s work and home lives can be very different, there’s also something very powerful about being thoughtfully cared for in both places. Our Coheart Care Team shares Southwest LUV by showing love.

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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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Megan Lee

Being Well: Prioritizing Heart and Home in 2024

When drafting a January newsletter, it’s easy to default to common “New Year” themes, such as setting goals and making resolutions. For me, however, the beginning of the year is a much-needed time to reset and reorganize–to make sure my health, my family, and my Team are ready to take on the coming year. Perhaps this rings true for you?

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Whitney Eichinger

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!

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