SVP, culture and communications, Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines' list of external accolades is long – rated first in BrandIndex's 2011 US Buzz rankings for airlines for positive brand presence; the top ranking by Forbes for The Brands American Women and Men Desire Most; and named 10th most admired company in the world in Fortune's 2012 survey of corporate reputation. And in business, where bottom-line success measures rule the day, Southwest Airlines, the biggest domestic carrier in the US, carries 100 million passengers a year, has a long history of solid financial numbers, and has never laid off an employee.
Best-in-class corporate culture and employee morale are the foundation for customer satisfaction and shareholder return, insists Ginger Hardage, who has played a key role in fostering culture and communications at the airline since joining in 1990.
Hardage, who grew up in Mozelle, TX, a "town so small it was 20 miles to the Dairy Queen," leads a robust slate of initiatives and events that recognizes employees and builds bonds between fellow associates, management, and communities that Southwest services. "I don't think there are many companies that spend as much time as Southwest does on direct employee contact," she proudly asserts.