With more than 53,000 Employees around the world, Southwest Airlines is known for taking pride in its people. Whether it is a pilot, flight engineer, or C-suite executive, all Southwest Employees are encouraged to have a “Servant’s Heart” principle that Employees apply not only to their Customers, but to the various communities they serve. “Volunteerism is part of who we are,” explains Southwest Volunteerism Advisor Andrea Cavanagh. “The central tenant of the Golden Rule, treating others how you want to be treated, is embedded in our culture.” As you consider potential career paths, it is important to consider how you can utilize your professional skills to advance the causes that matter most to you. Here are 5 ways the Southwest Airlines team encourages its People to ignite change as community leaders.
1) Be a Champion for Your Favorite Cause
Don’t be shy! Tell people what matters the most to you, whether it is improving childhood literacy, conserving the environment, or rescuing animals. Southwest embraces volunteerism because it leads to a happier and healthier workplace and community–each of us have the ability to make an impact.
2) Identify an Organization to Give Back To
Once you know what cause is most important to you, find a nonprofit organization that works to address this issue. Southwest Airlines created the Tickets for Time program in 2010 to support and appreciate their passionate Employee volunteers. This program helps Employees experience firsthand the multiplied effect their volunteerism has on the community. According to Andrea, “For every 40 hours of volunteer time our Employees contribute to a qualified nonprofit or school and record in our volunteer system, that organization is eligible to receive domestic travel for one round trip flight with up to 6 flights per year.” Since the creation of the Tickets for Time program, Southwest Employees have logged more than 960,000 volunteer hours, resulting in more than 14,300 round trip flights for nonprofit organizations across the country impacting communities around the globe.
3) Organize a Group of Volunteers to Amplify the Effect of Your Work
The more the merrier! Southwest Airlines encourages its Employees to work with their colleagues, who they colloquially refer to as Cohearts, on team service projects. Andrea explains that volunteerism can be a fun team building exercise at Southwest as it encourages “talent development, cross-functional collaboration, and mentorship throughout the company.” Helping to drive volunteerism forward, Southwest Volunteer Ambassadors are a network of Employees in each city Southwest serves, who represent various work groups and advocate for volunteerism. The Volunteer Ambassadors also inspire Cohearts to get involved and identify team opportunities for their respective cities.
4) Find Community Partners to Promote Sustainable Volunteer Efforts
Southwest Airlines works with global organizations, such as Points of Light, to provide additional opportunities for Employees to give back and demonstrate their commitment to the volunteer movement. Points of Light is the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service and mobilizes millions of people to work on specific projects in their communities. Visit pointsoflight.org to learn more about the incredible work happening through this organization and how to connect in your community.
5) Share Your Story
The best way to inspire your peers is to highlight the transformative role volunteerism has played in your life. Capturing Hearts in action, Southwest Employees are encouraged to share pictures and video with the hope of recruiting more passionate volunteers within Southwest and the larger community. You can stay up-to-date with all of Southwest’s efforts at Community.Southwest.com.
No matter what your career interests may be, Southwest Airlines lets you pilot your passion through volunteerism.