Rowland School of Business

Southwest Airlines Station Leader Discusses Ethical Leadership with M.B.A. Students

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Pictured is Theresa Anderson, Southwest Airlines station manager, discussing ethical leadership with Point Park M.B.A. students. | Photo by David Rowell, M.F.A.

Ethical Leadership at Southwest

How ethical leadership is implemented and embraced at one of the world’s largest airline carriers — Southwest Airlines — was the focus of Theresa Anderson’s March 16 presentation to Point Park University M.B.A. students.

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Anderson is the station leader for Southwest Airlines at the Pittsburgh International Airport and was the featured speaker at this year’s Ethical Leadership Speaker Series.

This annual School of Business graduate student event is sponsored by James M. Haley, Ph.D., professor and H.J. Heinz Endowed Chair of Management.

Steve Tanzilli, J.D., associate professor of sports, arts and entertainment management and chair of the Department of Management, moderated the event asking Anderson a variety of questions including what led her to Southwest, job challenges she has faced, how she has implemented ethical leadership policies and her career advice for Point Park’s M.B.A. students.

“I was impressed by how Theresa makes herself accessible to all employees at Southwest and doesn’t put herself above her staff. She is not afraid to put all hands on deck and help in all areas of the organization,” Tanzilli said.

"We covered Southwest Airlines in my M.B.A. Organizational Behavior class so it was great to hear directly from a Southwest team member about their culture, values and employee-first motto."

-- Blake Neal


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Tanzilli added: “She effectively conveyed the point that treating employees and clients well definitely has a positive impact on a company’s bottom line.”

Feedback from M.B.A. Students

“Theresa spoke about the many benefits of working for an organization like Southwest. She also talked about how Southwest's logo was a heart because they care about their employees and customers — and that they truly mean it. I believe that having a leader, rather than just a boss, who helps you grow within a company should be of utmost importance for professionals," explained Lindsay Haslett, M.B.A./M.A. in media communication student from Moon Area High School in Moon Township, Pa.

Deja Blount, an M.B.A. student from Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, Pa., with a concentration in sports, arts and entertainment management, said: “Theresa shared with us tools to empower and motivate others while also discussing the importance of work-life balance.”

Blake Neal, also an M.B.A. student concentrating in sports, arts and entertainment management, from Loyola Academy High School in Chicago, Ill., said: “We covered Southwest Airlines in my M.B.A. Organizational Behavior class so it was great to hear directly from a Southwest team member about their culture, values and employee-first motto."

"Theresa spoke with such enthusiasm and passion about Southwest and their leaders. It was refreshing to hear how accessible their CEO was and the commitment he made to visiting their various locations including Pittsburgh," Neal said.

“Point Park’s M.B.A. program is preparing me to take on a leadership role within the sports, arts and entertainment fields," he added. "Having the exposure to knowledgeable professors with real-world experience has enhanced my experience in the program.”

Photos by David Rowell, M.F.A., SAEM assistant professor

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