Colleen Barrett: Leading with LUV

It is sad news to learn of Colleen Barrett’s passing. Not only was she Southwest Airline’s Queen of Hearts, she was a true joy to work for and our best client by a million miles.

Pink Jacket worked with Southwest Airlines to update their office spaces, creating a vibrant environment that matched their brand personality. It was a project of a career lifetime, offered only by the grace of authentic relationships and aligning corporate cultures.

Our four-year project with SWA is one I call SWU (Southwest University) because we learned so much about so many things. SWA’s well-oiled teamwork machine was like a Master Class in corporate decision-making at its best. The positive and friendly environment inspired ownership so that each group collaborated in a way that flowed relatively smoothly from one team to another. Our Pink Jacket team worked with SWA, architecture, and contractor teams, and all teams needed to work in one direction toward one deadline.

If you’ve ever worked on a house project, you know how things can and will go awry at any turn. The same is also true yet magnified in a headquarters renovation. But strong leadership flowing from the top can make all the difference. This is where the culture of a company such as Southwest’s is legendary and a way of daily life, proving that “corporate” is not always a soul-sucking, dirty word.

Our first design reveal at the Southwest Airlines Headquarters was an exciting occasion dedicated to Colleen Barrett, an influential figure in Southwest Airlines’ founding and development. Initially, we believed this center was the entirety of the project, but later in the evening, we learned that there were 29 more to come! This memorable event took place on March 28, 2012.

RIP, Colleen. We’ll do our best to spread the love you inspired in us all. 🩷

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