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Southwest Airlines Celebrates Diversity With North Texas Summit


DALLAS – Sep 29, 2011 –  Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) is celebrating workplace diversity by hosting its second annual Diversity and Inclusion Summit today themed "Join the Conversation about Civility."  Diversity and Inclusion Leaders from many North Texas Fortune 500 companies will participate in the dialogue about diversity and inclusion initiatives, fostering civility in the workplace, and sharing best practices.

Joining this year’s conversation as Keynote Speaker is Darrell Scott, Founder and President of Rachel’s Challenge. Scott will be speaking about his daughter Rachel’s (the first victim in the Columbine High School shootings) legacy of kindness and compassion. Hailed by many as uplifting, inspirational, and moving, Rachel’s Challenge is a nationwide program for school-aged children to explore what good character means. The Summit also will feature presentations from the Dallas Holocaust Museum’s Center for Education and Tolerance.

The Summit’s agenda also includes discussions with:

  • Ellen Torbert, Southwest’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, who will share her personal journey growing up in both a segregated and desegregated society
  • Southwest’s President Emeritus, Colleen Barrett, will speak about lessons from her book “Lead with LUV” and offer insights on the importance of servant leadership.
  • Terry Howard, Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Texas Instruments and Cofounder of the Global Diversity Consortium will share information about this organization.
  • A panel discussion moderated by Debra Hunter Johnson, an attorney and HR professional with more than 20 years of experience in complex workplace litigation. Panelists will include Dr. Betty Gilmore with Southern Methodist University, Steve Blow with the Dallas Morning News, Journalist and Author Ana Cristina Reymundo, and Elizabeth Hebbe, one of the Core Team Members of The Oshkosh Civility Project.

“We are honored to be hosting the Southwest Airlines Diversity and Inclusion Summit for the second year in a row.  This Summit presents an opportunity to open our doors and our hearts to have a conversation about the topic of diversity, inclusion, and civility,” said Linda Rutherford, Vice President Communication and Strategic Outreach for Southwest Airlines. “At Southwest, we believe that a modern and diverse workforce is key to our continued success.  We are committed to providing our Employees the best tools for their development by engaging in conversations about best practices and the importance of respecting each other in the workplace.” 

The 2010 Diversity and Inclusion Summit was recognized with a Diversity Communications Honor by PR News’ Corporate Social Responsibility Awards.

The Southwest Airlines Diversity and Inclusion Summit was created and is hosted by the Company’s Diversity Council. This Council comprises Southwest Employees who meet every month to improve the recruitment and advancement of women and minorities, work to enhance the Company’s supplier diversity efforts, champion diversity and inclusion training efforts, and create awareness of and show appreciation for cultural or lifestyle differences within the Company’s diverse workforce.

Last year, Hispanic Business Magazine named Southwest Airlines as one of the top Elite companies for diversity.


In its 40th year of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low-fare carriers--offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded and has recently acquired AirTran Airways, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines Co. Southwest serves 72 cities in 37 states and is one of the most honored airlines in the world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet. To read more about how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen, visit to read the Southwest Airlines One Report(TM). Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,400 flights a day and has more than 35,000 Employees systemwide.