I recently attended my first Corporate Community Relations Consortium meeting in San Jose, where corporate community relations/affairs professionals network and share benchmarks. I left the meeting feeling a sense of pride for what these committed colleagues (representing Fortune 500 companies such as Yahoo, Intel, eBay, HP, Cisco Systems, and Adobe to name a few) collectively contribute back, not only to the Silicon Valley community, but also to the nation and even world. I also left the gathering with an ear-to-ear smile, because I'm now a part of this special cadre of folks whose primary role is to help meet the needs of a community.
I joined Southwest's Corporate Community Affairs Team (CCAT) last June when I transitioned over from Field Marketing, where I spent almost nine years of my Southwest career. The CCAT's vision is to engage in high profile, local, and grassroots initiatives that positively impact communities we serve. Our aim is to ensure that Southwest is a trusted partner and valued as a powerful source of influence among Internal and External Customers. The CCAT efforts can be measured in three main impact areas: Leadership, community/social responsibility, and education.
You may be wondering, why does the work of these Freedom Fighter frauleins matter to our Customers?
"Not only does Southwest contribute resources, but they also donate talent, time and creativity to the projects for which they commit."
--Maudine R. Cooper, President and CEO, Greater Washington Urban League
"With our partnership with Southwest Airlines, we have been able to train hundreds of College age Latinas to lead their communities and prepare them for leadership positions as they complete their college degrees. Gracias Southwest for helping shape the future of America!"
--Marissa Rivera-Albert, President National Hispana Leadership Institute
Whether it's helping young leaders of tomorrow attend college through programs like the signature !Lazante! Travel Awards program; supporting advocacy efforts for social justice; or honoring our national heroes such as the Tuskegee Airmen, the Team contributes its time, expertise, and resources to connect Southwest with the passions of our multi-faceted communities. We work collaboratively with other SWA departments, community leaders, elected officials, educators, entrepreneurs, and other influential organizations to help make a positive difference and to uplift, shape, and move our network of communities forward.
Here's a snapshot of a few accomplishments from 2007:
Established and cultivated mutually beneficial relationships with more than 135 Community, Business, and Political based organizations in key cities, impacting local communities across the country.
Community Affairs served on more than 33 Boards of Directors in an advisory, membership, and committee chair capacity, placing Southwest in an influential position with key decision makers.
Southwest was recognized with 30+ special recognition awards for our commitment to the communities we serve.
Southwest received the HACU (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities) President's Award for Corporate Partner of the Year.
MANA National awarded Southwest Airlines the "Corporation of the Year" Award at its annual "Las Primeras" Awards Gala.
Now that you know a little CCAT trivia, the first person to correctly list the names of the small, but mighty group of six CCAT members featured in the picture, will win a $15 Blockbuster card! Okay, READY, SET, GO!