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A Very Special Photo Shoot at Southwest Airlines

Adventurer B

Everyone knows Southwest has a well-deserved reputation for unparalleled Corporate Culture – that usually involves FUN, being a maverick, and  doing whatever it takes.  That was never more true than with a recent photo shoot with our Board of Directors for FORTUNE Magazine’s annual FORTUNE 500 Issue on newsstands now.  Olga Romero and I led a cast of thousands - well, maybe not a thousand, but it sure seemed like it – to help create a photo shoot on the third floor deck of our Headquarters building for the feature in this national publication. 


As many of you know, there’s a great view of Love Field and the Dallas skyline from the third-floor deck.  Well, about a month ago, it was turned into a set for the FORTUNE photo shoot.  With the incredible help I mentioned before, we mounted ten rows of aircraft seats on a platform located on the deck, so the beautiful Texas sky would be the backdrop for our Board of Directors. We certainly couldn't do the typical conference room shot!

Over the course of three days, FORTUNE scouted locations, built a set, took test photos, and ultimately created a Fun-LUVing look at our Board, which is what we were going for. 


Over those three days, I got a really great suntan, and Olga and I moved our office to the deck.  But, just like anything we get to do for this great Company we work for, the experience reinforced how awesome the People of Southwest are – from the Board on down.  The photo shoot took place during the quarterly Board meeting, so our Directors literally had just minutes to spare for the photo. 

To make the most of the Board's time, our Team from Communication and Strategic Outreach answered the call for extras, sitting for hours in the aircraft seats under the elements to check people position and lighting; our Facilities Maintenance Team answered panicked phone calls asking for a screwdriver or caution tape or a visit over to our Maintenance Hangar to grab one more row of seats; our Marketing Team let us rope off part of the deck and hammer and saw during a Team celebration; our Maintenance Team escorted us out on the ramp, secured an aircraft, and delivered a tow rope for an alternate photo possibility; our Inflight Team ran specialty Southwest water, baskets, peanuts, and service trays to be featured in the photo; and, finally, our Board of Directors were really great sports: throwing and catching peanuts, taking direction to “lean forward,” or “show the water,” and then heading right out for flights to their “day jobs.” 

So, check out the photo and the issue on newsstands and when you look at that photo, give a silent cheer for the cast of thousands that made it happen.