2003 – Dallas, Texas
Colleen C. Barrett is currently President, Chief Operating Officer, and Corporate Secretary for Southwest Airlines Co., a high-frequency, low-fare, point-to-point airline which prides itself in its excellent customer service qualities. Colleen oversees management, leadership, and budget responsibilities for the Southwest’s three Executive Vice Presidents, the Senior Vice President Marketing, the Vice President-General Counsel, the Internal Audit Department, the Vice President-Corporate Communications, and the Executive Office staff. She is a member of Southwest’s Board of Directors and the Executive Planning Committee, and chairs numerous special teams, task forces, and committees relating to internal and external customers. Prior to joining Southwest in 1978, she worked for several years as executive assistant to Herb Kelleher, Southwest’s current Chairman, at his law firm. Like Herb, Colleen has emphasized egalitarianism and caring. She created Culture Committees to ensure the continuation of Southwest’s unique relationship-based philosophy and to provide an emphasis on giving back to the community. Colleen has one son and one grandson; is active in numerous civic and charitable organizations in Dallas; has participated in various state political campaigns, and has served on numerous boards and commissions. She graduated with highest honors from Becker Junior College in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1964. In an industry often beset with difficulties Colleen (the only female president of a major airline) has received numerous and continuous plaudits for the leadership and customer attention she and Southwest nurture and inspire. Her name is consistently listed in annual rankings (including Fortune magazine’s) as one of the most powerful women in business & industry.