Southwest Airlines committed to increasing diversity in leadership

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Southwest Airlines committed to increasing diversity in leadership
Southwest Airlines Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly
Written by Harry S. Johnson

Southwest Airlines Co. today reinforced a continued commitment to putting People first and championing an inclusive workplace for all Employees.

In a video message for the Company’s Employees, Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly shared, “Our diversity & inclusion journey began long before this summer’s increased focus on racial injustice and has always been rooted in our Southwest Way Values: specifically, how we show up individually, how we treat each other, how we work as a Team, and how we will succeed as a Company.” Southwest long has been committed to diversity and inclusion, having been founded and guided across five decades by the Golden Rule to “Treat others as you would like to be treated,” since our founding.

Kelly continued, “While our diversity imperatives across the years laid a good foundation, we know we must commit to closely focusing in areas like diversity in Senior Leadership and supplier diversity. We continue to look for opportunities to better reflect in our organization the diverse demographics of the communities we serve.” Specifically, the Company has set the following goals:

  • Evolving hiring and development practices to support diversity goals, including posting all open Leadership positions (Supervisor to Vice President) and requiring diverse candidate slates for each role
  • Measuring progress in increasing diversity in Senior Leadership
  • Doubling the percentage of racial diversity and increasing gender diversity in Senior Management Committee by 2025
  • Engaging breadth of community partners to ensure the Company is leveraging those relationships as it sources diverse talent

Additionally, the Southwest Airlines Board of Directors has committed to increasing its diverse representation by 2025. 

Pursuing Racial Equity

To continue its commitment to inclusion, the Southwest Airlines Diversity and Inclusion Team has completed workshops with much of the Company’s workforce, thus far, including Flight Attendants, Mechanics and Engineers, Finance Employees, and Pilots, with other conversations planned. These workshops are part of an effort to encourage productive conversations on racial equity. Many workgroups from throughout the Company have initiated dialogue and discussion about these important topics.

Employee-led Solutions

The Southwest Airlines’ Diversity Council—comprised of a diverse group of Employees with various job roles, in locations across the country, and with varying levels of experience—was founded more than 10 years ago. It serves as an asset, dedicated to a mission that promotes a work environment that appreciates different backgrounds, experiences, and traditions, while also fostering inclusion, and leveraging diversity to enhance performance and shape Company strategy.

Assisting Communities with Change

The Company’s Community Outreach Team continues visiting with its community partners to understand how the Company can support workforce development through talent pipelines. The Southwest Airlines Foundation, a corporate-advised fund within the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, made additional monetary contributions to organizations such as the National Urban League and 100 Black Men in America.

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