This year marks the 20th anniversary of Usher’s New Look (UNL), an organization Southwest Airlines has proudly partnered with for more than a decade. UNL is a nonprofit organization that aims to transform the lives of the under-resourced youth through comprehensive programming, which develops passion-driven, global leaders from middle school through college. Through this partnership, Southwest looks to build its talent pipeline by empowering the lives of the next generation through workforce development.
In honor of the 20th Anniversary, UNL kicked off this summer with its second annual Disruptivator Summit, geared at helping connect youth from across the country to speakers, networks, and career development opportunities. As part of the Summit, students and partners participated in different activities including a fireside chat with founder Usher Raymond, company career days, and hear uplifting keynotes from motivational speakers. All of these activities opened students’ lives to the endless possibilities life has to offer.
Shanice’s Journey to Summit
Shanice Andall, a junior at Morgan State University and seven-year UNL veteran, was excited to participate in this year’s Summit. “This organization and the people involved are very important to me, as I consider them all to be my family,” said Shanice. “We are a group of people filled with talent and ideas. We all have one common goal and that is to find our spark and how it relates to the real world.”
Shanice Andall with a Southwest Flight Crew.
Shanice’s first flight with UNL was with Southwest and is something she looks forward to with every trip she takes with this program. The Southwest Crew always does a great job of making sure everyone is comfortable and happy from wheels up to wheels down.
“On my flight to the Summit, there was a child crying. The Flight Attendant went out of her way to make flower napkins to entertain the child and put a smile on their face,” said Shanice. “I love the dedication that Southwest has for its Customers.”
A Homecoming to Remember
Once students arrived at the Summit, they attended a “homecoming ceremony” filled with fun performances from fellow UNL members. The excitement continued with the anniversary reception held at The Gathering Spot, which serves as a hub of diversity and cultural epicenter for one-of-a-kind experiences, impactful gatherings, collaborative learning, and transformative relationships. The reception gave students an opportunity to meet UNL Alumni and network with fellow UNL supporters to show how this organization has directly impacted their lives.
“I love all the opportunities UNL provides for me and my peers,” said Shanice. “It is an honor to be surrounded by successful people and to share our individual brands with them. I plan on traveling and teaching English in different countries when I graduate college, and I know that UNL will continue to support me moving forward.”
The reception continued by honoring former UNL Alumni and special sponsors, including Southwest. Through the years, Southwest has provided travel accommodations to UNL to transport students to the various summits and career development workshops throughout the country. The reception ended with a fireside chat with Usher as he shared his thoughts about the organization and the longevity of it.
Career Day at Southwest Airlines
The Summit continued the following day with Career Day. Students were divided into groups based on their career interests and were taken to different companies around Atlanta.
“I had the opportunity to visit Southwest’s Customer Support & Service Contact Center in Atlanta as well as the Atlanta Station at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport,” said Shanice. “We were taught about different jobs that go into making Southwest a successful business.”
Shanice Andall with Southwest Atlanta Customer Service Agent Mark King, and Flight Attendant Supervisors Tamira Jones and Jabari Smith.
Students attending Career Day were given a behind the scenes look where Southwest Customers can call to make travel reservations, recruiting and training for Frontline Employees is conducted, as well as all the operational portions at the airport such as the ticket counters and gates.
Southwest is honored to partner with UNL to change the lives of many students, including Shanice, through career development opportunities and the annual Summit. We look forward to seeing where the journeys of these students take them next!