Ginger Hardage recently retired as Senior Vice President of Culture and Communications at Southwest Airlines after an illustrious 25 years, where she served as a member of the CEO's executive leadership team. At Southwest (the nation’s largest airline), Ginger led a team of 150 people responsible for building and sustaining the organization's legendary culture and communications enterprise.
Recognized by many as a foremost global authority on building and sustaining organizational culture, Ginger was responsible for the activities that nourished the culture and the internal and external communications function. At Southwest, Ginger was a tireless ambassador of the world-famous Southwest Culture, leading to honors like 23 consecutive years on FORTUNE’s “Top 10 Most Admired Companies in the World” list. Most importantly, Ginger helped champion the values that have made Southwest a culture of enduring greatness – we put people first, we treat customers like family, we nurture our culture, and we try to change ahead of the times.
In addition to leading Southwest’s “Best Place to Work” initiatives, Hardage led the airline's culture and communications evolution, expanding the communication functions to include more robust internal communications capabilities and a more focused corporate philanthropy program. She also led the airline's Culture Committee, employee recognition and engagement, and all companywide celebrations.
Upon retirement, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said “Ginger has made countless contributions to Southwest. She has been an invaluable business partner, advisor, and mentor. She brings constant, positive energy and enthusiasm to all those around her, and that is infectious. She has built superb teams that we are very proud of, and that I know will continue her special brand of excellence."
Throughout her career, Ginger has received countless awards and honors including the PRWeek Top 50 Power list, PRWeek 50 Most Powerful Women in Public Relations, Texas’ Most Powerful and Influential Women, and “Legendary Communicator” by Southern Methodist University in 2007. Ginger was inducted into the Public Relations Hall of Fame in 2015, received the Legacy Award from the Plank Center for Leadership in 2016, and was selected for the James C. Bowling Executive-In-Residence Lecture Series at the University of Kentucky in 2005.
Ginger currently serves as a Trustee on two global boards—Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Arthur Page Society. In Dallas, she serves on the board of The Trinity Park Conservancy, was recently President of the Trinity Commons Foundation, and is an advisory board member for the City of Dallas’ Center for Performance Excellence. Ginger previously served on advisory boards of Novartis in Basel, Switzerland; Business Civic Leadership Center, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Big Brothers and Sisters of Metropolitan Dallas; Southwest Cares; and the Council of Public Relations Firms.
Before beginning her career at Southwest Airlines in 1990, Ginger held a variety of marketing and public relations positions at Maxus Energy Corporation, Diamond Shamrock Corporation, and Life Insurance Company of the Southwest.
Ginger earned a B.A. in advertising/public relations from Texas Tech University and was recognized as an outstanding alumna by the College of Mass Communications at Texas Tech University.
In 2017, Ginger launched Unstoppable Cultures, a brand designed to help organizations create and sustain cultures of enduring greatness. Ginger’s expertise and worldwide recognition is highly sought-after as a consultant and speaker, and she has accepted engagements at organizations like Google and Princeton.
Ginger lives in Dallas with her husband, Kelly, and has grown stepsons, Patrick and Ross.