Over the past three weeks, you’ve heard from my fellow Diversity Council Members sharing the highlights from this year’s Diversity Summit from leading companies that showed that Diversity and Inclusion is a competitive advantage.
Our Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Ellen Torbert, shared the importance of feeling confident that you can be who you are and bring your whole self to work. Former CEO of Ernst & Young, James Turley, linked Diversity and Inclusion to “Winning” in the competitive market place. Coca-Cola’s Chief Diversity Officer Steve Bucherati, emphasized the importance of “Fairness” and how that organically spread throughout the Coca-Cola culture. The last presentation of the day was a panel of Southwest Leaders, and I was excited to hear from our Leaders and what their thoughts were on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion.
Southwest’s panel discussion included: Vice President Communication and Outreach Linda Rutherford, President Emeritus Colleen Barrett, Senior Vice President Customers Teresa Laraba, Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion Ellen Torbert, and Executive Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer, and President of AirTran Airways Bob Jordan. The panel discussed how we’ve reframed the dialogue the Southwest Airlines way by linking it to our core values. The panel recognized the Diversity Council for championing diversity leadership and educating Employees through special events and ongoing communication.
In this video highlight, you’ll see an example as Teresa talks about a recent Coffee and Conversation the Company hosted during Pride Month in June. As a proud member of the LGBT community and Southwest's Diversity Council, I’m inspired by the feedback and conversations from this year’s Diversity Summit.
What was your biggest takeaway from this year’s Summit? Let us know by commenting below!
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One thing I love about Southwest is working with Employees who come from all walks of life. What’s even better is feeling comfortable to be myself at work. Tomorrow on August 1, we will join the conversation on the importance of a diverse workforce when we host our fourth annual Diversity Summit at our Dallas Headquarters. The incredible lineup features some of our very own—Colleen, Gary, Ellen, and more, as well as Diversity Thought Leaders from organizations like The Coca Cola Company and Ernst & Young. Be sure to check out the full speaker lineup and agenda.
Follow the conversation on Twitter: Use the hashtags #SWADiversity and #reframethedialogue. And, stay tuned for video clips of our speakers following the Summit!
At Southwest Airlines, diversity is the fabric within our Culture—it’s the secret ingredient that helps us celebrate and relate to one another and our Customers in a culturally relevant way. We hope you’ll join us to reframe the dialogue and celebrate the differences that make us strong and bring out the best in us all.
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On Thursday, June 13 the Diversity Council recognized Gay Pride Month by hosting our second Coffee and Conversation breakfast at our Headquarters in Dallas. The meeting featured guest speakers Teresa Laraba, Senior Vice President of Customers, and Bill Owen, Senior Business Consultant. The room was packed with engaged and excited Employees, leaving standing room only for the meeting! Bill Owen kicked off the discussion by introducing his partner, Kent Henry. Bill proudly announced their upcoming marriage at the SWA Bryant Park Porch in NYC. He’s a proud father and grandfather with no shortage of funny stories (both personal and professional) to which many in the room could relate! With more than 22 years of Southwest Airlines experience, Bill has navigated his way to his role as a Senior Business Consultant in Network Planning. Bill talked about his experiences and the challenges he faced before coming out to friends, family, and Coworkers. One thing that really resonated with the audience was Bill’s confidence in who he is and the acceptance he’s felt while working at Southwest Airlines. Coming out can be a scary thing whether in one’s personal life or in a workplace setting and Bill’s testaments were those of LUV and support. Bill concluded with a powerful story about witnessing LGBT bullying of other students in high school and keeping quiet in fear of the bullies targeting him. After that, Bill vowed to never be a silent witness going forward and to stand up for equality and respect. That’s one of many reasons he and Kent are passionate supporters of GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation). Teresa Laraba began her talk with an inspirational quote, "Unconditional love is not situational or negotiable. It is unconditional." As Senior Vice President of Customers with more than 29 years of Southwest Airlines experience, Teresa expressed her gratitude to the exposure of the LGBT community throughout her career with SWA. She's a proud mother of two daughters and recently welcomed a new addition to her family when her daughter, Cat, married her partner. Teresa spoke about her experience with being the mother of a gay daughter and shared stories of her daughters growing up and the significant differences within her girls at an early age. When Cat came out to her in high school, her immediate reaction wasn't of shock or disappointment, but that of overwhelming love and support. Teresa explained that her main concern was how other people would treat her daughter. Soon after Cat came out, she heard stories of bullying even altercations from the parents of Cat's friends. Cat, who was also present at the meeting, shared her personal and professional experiences. She shared that when she came out, she felt a huge weight lifted off her shoulders and expressed her gratitude of her family's strong support during that time. As we concluded the conversation with Q&A, several Employees shared their coming out stories and experiences within their respective work groups. As a member of the Southwest Airlines Diversity Council, I can say that we look forward to our next quarterly Coffee and Conversation which will be held in recognition of Disability Awareness Month.
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Last year, our Customer Relations/Rapid Rewards Department partnered with our Communications Department to form a brand new Team who would listen and respond to Customer inquiries through our social media channels. Our Customers are very active in the social media space and they expect their favorite brands to be social media savvy as well. Some of the channels the Customer Relations Social Media Team monitor include: Facebook, Twitter, Flyer Talk, and other aviation related blogs and forums. With over 3 million fans on Facebook and over 1.3 million followers on Twitter alone, we have many opportunities to chat with our Customers. We primarily monitor our channels for Customer complaints, travel or policy-related questions, and compliments! From a Customer experience perspective, it’s pretty cool for our Customers to receive in-the-moment answers and solutions to their questions or feedback.
The CR/RR Social Media Team of three works closely with our Communications and Marketing Departments to support our social media strategy. Since our Team debuted in June, 2011, we’ve corresponded with thousands of our Customers and Southwest Airlines Fans. CR/RR Specialist Verity Kugelmann says, “Our Customers are typically grateful for the help when we reach out to them on our social channels!” We often hear that our Customers appreciate the convenience of Customer Service via Social Media. Further, they appreciate the personal touch we put on our responses. For example, if a Customer on Twitter reaches out to @southwestair, we respond to the Customer Service-related inquires from our personalized accounts: @southwestgabe, @southwestverity, or @southwestnicole. One of our favorite stories came from Customer BJ Schone, who creatively wrote a letter and tweeted us about his damaged bag. CR/RR Specialist, Verity Kugelmann worked with him on an in-kind response that generated positive buzz for Southwest Airlines, despite the unfortunate situation. You can see her response here . It’s been a great year and we look forward to what the rest of 2012 and beyond has in store for us!
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We're pleased to announce the winners of our #CarvingTheLUV contest, who along with a guest will be joining us on October 31st to tour our Haunted Headquarters! @southwestair My #CarvingTheLUV entry. Some of Gary Kelly's memorable costumes. What will he bring us in 2012?! instagr.am/p/QvoqwnqRaN/ — Jewels (@PerkyJewels) October 14, 2012 My Southwest Airlines #CarvingTheLuv contest #pumpkin !!! @southwestairinstagr.am/p/Qvt4owlfQi/ — Justin Lewis (@Justinlew13) October 14, 2012 My @southwestair #carvingtheluv entry! Mixing some new with some old!instagr.am/p/Qx_03kouL8/ — Barbara (@BLewis13) October 14, 2012
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Update: At the bottom of this post you can download some awesome Southwest patterns to use for inspiration! Southwest Airlines is gearing up for one of our favorite holidays of the year: Halloween! This year our official theme is “Jack-o’-lanterns are burning bright; time to take a Southwest or AirTran Flight!” What better way to kick off the fall season than to carve a pumpkin? We are looking for some creative, FUN-LUVing, SWA-inspired pumpkin carving to set the mood for our big day.
Sound like FUN? It will be! This year, you could win an invitation to our Halloween bash at our Corporate Headquarters in The Big D.
From October 8 to October 14, contestants may carve their most SWA inspired pumpkin, then tweet a photo to @southwestair via Instagram including the hashtag #CarvingTheLUV to officially enter. On October 15, we will select the top three pumpkins and each winner and his/her guest may travel to Headquarters and experience the festivities in person! See below for official contest details. Creativity and SOUTHWEST SPIRIT encouraged; may the best carver win!
Check us out on Instagram to see some of our FUN photos. And if you need some inspiration, try carving with these examples (you can download these and more, at the bottom of this post!):
1. To Enter: No purchase or obligation necessary. Contest runs from October 8, 5 p.m- CT - October 14, 2012 11:59 p.m. CT (“Contest Period”). To enter, you must have an Instagram account and a Twitter account by 3:00p.m.. C.T. October 8, 2012 , and tweet your photo to @southwestair via your Instagram account using the hashtag #CarvingTheLUV during the Contest Period. The entrant’s Instagram account must be public. Use of any device to automate entry is prohibited. Proof of submission of an entry shall not be deemed proof of receipt by Southwest. Southwest Airlines’ computer is the official time keeping device for the contest. Southwest is not responsible for entries not received due to difficulty accessing the internet, service outage or delays, computer difficulties, or other technological glitches.
By entering, Entrant grants Sponsor an irrevocable, perpetual, royalty-free, freely transferable license to use the photo for all purposes, in any and all media, whether now known or hereafter devised. Entries may not violate any third party rights nor use any third-party intellectual property such as logos or background signs. Entrants acknowledge and agree that their entry does not violate any rights of privacy or publicity and that they have the written permission of those appearing in their photo to submit their image. Entries must not disparage; contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, or vulgar; or promote bigotry, racism, hatred or discrimination based on race, gender, religion, sexual orientation.
Entries are limited to one (1) per person. Sponsor is under no obligation to post any entry.
2. Eligibility: Contest open to all legal US residents, 21 years and older with an Instagram and a Twitter account at the beginning of the Contest Period. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Contest subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. By participating, entrants agree to these official rules and accept decisions of the Sponsor as final. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law. Employees and directors of Southwest Airlines, AirTran Airways, and the members of their immediate families (spouse, parents, children, and siblings and their spouses) and individuals living in the same households are ineligible to participate or win. The promotion is offered in the United States only and shall only be construed and evaluated according to United States law. Do not proceed in this site if you are not located in the United States.
3. Judging & Prizes: The photos will be judged and the winners selected by a Southwest Airlines panel of judges from the Communications Department on or about October 10, 2012. The judges will be judging on the following qualities: • Creativity and Originality: 20% • Entertaining: 25% • Southwest Appeal: 35% Entry should reflect our Culture and Fun-LUVing Attitude • Rules: 20% Read and complied with the Official Rules
All prizes are guaranteed to be awarded. 4. Prize: Three (3) Grand Prizes will consist of: two (2) roundtrip airline tickets on Southwest Airlines from the closest major airport to winner's residence served by Southwest Airlines on published, scheduled service (subject to Southwest Airlines’ terms and conditions; certain restrictions may apply) to Dallas Love Field Airport, visit to Southwest Airlines Headquarters for Halloween, and 1 night at a hotel (double occupancy) in Dallas (meals, telephone calls, tips, transportation to/from departing airport, and other incidentals and costs are not included). No substitutions, cash equivalents or transfers of a Grand Prize permitted, except at the sole discretion of Sponsor. Winner and guest, if any, must travel on dates and times specified by Sponsor. Exact travel dates are at the discretion of Sponsor. All persons must depart and return to the same airport. Prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash. Approximate Retail Value (ARV) of each Grand Prize is approximately $1,500. ARV of all Grand Prizes is approximately $6,000.
5. To Claim Prize: Potential Winners only will be notified by Direct Message via Twitter, and will be required to complete and sign an Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability Release and, where legal, a Publicity Release, which must be returned within seven (7) days after prize notification or prize will be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner. If prize notification letter is returned undeliverable, the prize will be awarded to an alternate winner. Grand Prize winner’s guests, or if minor(s) their parent(s)/legal guardian(s), must execute Liability Releases, and where legal, Publicity Releases prior to the issuance of travel documents. Unclaimed or undeliverable prize will be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner. Prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash. Prize is guaranteed to be awarded. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission (except where prohibited) to use winner’s name, hometown and likeness for purposes of advertising, promotion, and publicity in any media without additional compensation.
6. Limitation of Liability: Neither Sponsor, nor their affiliated entities, are responsible for printing or typographical errors in any related materials; stolen, fraudulent, entries or mail; or transactions that are processed or lost due to computer or electronic malfunction. Winner is solely responsible for payment of all federal, state, and local taxes on prize and for any travel or other expenses not specifically mentioned in prize description. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel or modify Contest if fraud or technical failure compromise the integrity of the Contest as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. This Contest offer is being made exclusively by Sponsor. Sponsor not responsible for technical, hardware, software or telephone failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections or fraud, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmission whether caused by Sponsor, user, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the promotion or by any technical or human error which may occur in the process of submissions which may limit a participant’s ability to participate in this promotion.
7. Winners List: To request a Winners’ Name List, send a self addressed stamped return envelope, after October 15, 2012, to: Southwest Airlines Emerging Media Dept. 2502 Love Field Drive Dallas, TX 75235
All requests must be received by October 22, 2012. Utah and Washington residents may omit return postage.
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Do you ever find yourself sifting through a pile of paper at your desk looking for your meeting notes and those few to-do items? Or, have you mistakenly throw away that action item for this week’s deadline? This has certainly happened to me (d'oh!), so I decided to try something new. I picked up a small, magnetic dry erase board from Urban Outfitters for about $10 for my work station. It’s a quick, easy solution for meeting notes, to-do lists, and reminders. Future items can easily be added to my Outlook calendar, further reducing my overall use of paper. Here some additional tips for reducing paper usage:
Set printer defaults and copiers to double-sided. Use that back side of printed paper for drafts, internal documents, or scratch paper. Send documents electronically when possible. Create shared drives for work groups to access pertinent information when needed. Use the notes function of your smart phone, tablet, or electronic device. Recycle office paper and encourage others to participate.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. That’s one of my New Year’s resolutions. Let us know how you plan on using your green filter in 2012 by commenting below or by sending your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. DING! You are now free to be green!
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