The majority of us will agree that packing for a trip can be a challenge. Between identifying the needed travel essentials and making sure not to forget any must-haves, there is a successful formula that can be used when preparing for a new adventure. That same formula used to pack your physical bag with your items for a getaway can also be applied to packing a “suitcase” for personal and professional success when going after your dream career, job, or goals. Megan Griswold, Team Leader at Southwest Airlines University (SWA U), embraced the opportunity to share her career journey and highlight the lessons she learned along the way that are now in her Suitcase for Success.
At this stage in her career, Megan leads a team of specialists that supports training logistics at SWA U. This educational department within Southwest Airlines develops and delivers training material for a variety of Southwest work groups including Ground Operations, Inflight, Customer Support & Services, and Technology. To ensure that the 1,500 to 2,000 Southwest Employees who come to SWA U every month for training have the best learning experience, Megan and her team handle all the hotel, class material, and communication logistics—allowing Employees to focus on learning and getting the most out of their time at SWA U. As an undergraduate, Megan’s study of psychology involved development and training courses, which relate to her current job as a Team Leader. Of course, professional success also means finding a balance with personal success. Megan maintains this balance by squeezing in some “me-time” with exercise, like yoga or running before work, and visiting her favorite destination of Monterey, California. It doesn’t hurt that Monterey also doubles as her hometown.
To reach this point in her career, Megan identified the following as essentials in her Suitcase for Success:
1) “Family, Fun, and Determination.”
When Megan reflects on her career, she can’t help but recognize the vital role the Southwest Culture has played throughout her journey. Megan explained why she chose these three words to describe the Southwest Culture by saying, “Family, because I’ve grown close to everyone I work with. Fun, because we like to have fun at our job. Determination, because regardless of what situation we are up against, Southwest Employees will embrace our Warrior Spirit and solve whatever problems we face.” Family, fun and determination are three pieces Megan always has room for in her Suitcase for Success.
2) “Kindle, packable jacket, and Apple Watch.”
These are the three items that Megan never travels without. Megan explains, she “can’t go anywhere without her Kindle.” As an introvert, she will occasionally get away from all the buzz and get lost in a book. As an avid traveler, carrying a jacket that rolls into a tiny bag maximizes convenience along with her Apple Watch that helps her stay on schedule when moving from one task to the next
3) “Look at every situation as a learning opportunity, especially early in your career.”
Megan recognizes that “you have to look at the situation and identify what makes it unique and what you can do to prepare for the future.” She noted that “having the right mindset is the most important thing.” She began her journey as an intern at SWA U where she made herself available to assist with any job that came up, such as stuffing envelopes. To understand the bigger picture, she always asked herself “Why am I doing this?” She learned that new students received these envelopes with information that explained what to do during their time in the program. Therefore, she recognized that her responsibilities, no matter how big or small, became a fundamental part of the process that helps students became successful at SWA U.
4) “Keep your goals in mind, but be flexible and see where life takes you.”
Megan has always been open to new opportunities. She explains, “Take chances and be willing to try something new. Growing up, I never thought I would be living and working in Texas, but SWA U was the right opportunity for an amazing internship that lead to a full-time position.” Although deciding to move to another state wasn’t an easy decision, Megan knows that flexibility was the key to her decision because “you might find out that you didn’t know what you wanted.”
5) “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
On any journey, it is essential to ask for advice. The best piece of advice Megan received was from a previous boss, who told her to ask herself, “what would you do if you weren’t afraid.” This question helped her navigate the challenge of moving across the country to Texas to intern with Southwest. Thanks to this advice, Megan took the internship. She ended up meeting awesome mentors at SWA U and learning an important lesson that she now carries in her Suitcase for Success.
To learn more about internship opportunities with Southwest Airlines visit www.southwest.com/careers.
Contributors: Chi Huynh and Erika Lopez