Building Allyship To Manage Change

Southwest Airlines, a brand that is known for stellar customer service. Their vision is to become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline. The Southwest culture is driven by warmth, friendliness, and pride. To sustain and scale that, they hire for attitude, and train for skill.


‘Heart to Heart’ is Southwest’s annual conference for the People (HR) Team. And LATE NITE ART was hired to lead a fun, out-of-the-box experience, that would help the 220 participants learn how to be with change, and build allyship across this group.

The larger context: this group gathered to overhaul the old systems, and shape new ones that focus more on building a workplace that is diverse, accessible, and is better at championing for people. As well as becoming strategic partners for the success of Southwest employees.


We designed a two hour workshop, which was a mix of depth and play, ensuring we tipped our hats to the fun filled culture at Southwest. Our goal was to help people get to know each other, beyond their roles. This was a team spread across 9 states in USA, and we wanted to create more curiosity and inclusion.

From sharing stories about childhood neighborhoods, to creating mascots that represent the new vision of the people team, and address fears that team members have about change - we did it all. LATE NITE ART also served as a showcase for ideas on how to facilitate large groups.

My team and I truly enjoyed this experience.
— Cheryl Hughey, Managing Director of Culture, Southwest Airlines


This group LOVED sharing their reflections out loud. And that gave us insights into their journey. Our highlight was to break down the hierarchy, and facilitate personal conversations between VPs and interns. We also:

  • Asked questions which allowed for crucial dialogue to happen, around the team’s experience of organizational shuffle, their relationship to the new vision, and their resistance. It invited a level of listening this group hadn’t achieved.

  • Established key takeaways for effective facilitation. We demonstrated how to create common ground for a 200 person group, how to lead a group without getting into a power struggle, and how to create safety for unusual conversations to happen.

  • Created an empathy and collaboration rich experience. People were able to name the roadblocks they face at work, and asked for the exact support they needed to succeed.

From our college interns all the way up to our VP, not only did we learn a lot about each other, we also learned more about ourselves and how we can better connect with the people we work with every day…we would invite them back in a heartbeat!
— Annelise Moore, Recruiter, Southwest Airlines