Southwest Airlines’ culture is woven into all aspects of our business and our Employees’ lives – from the way Employees treat each other, to the way that our Company puts our Employees first. Three vital elements of our Culture are appreciation, recognition and celebration. Employees of Southwest Airlines are encouraged to “Live the Southwest Way.” This means having a Warrior Spirit which includes working hard, being courageous, having a Servant’s Heart by putting others first, and having a Fun-LUVing Attitude. To exemplify that Warrior Spirit, Southwest Airlines is proud to feature Debbie Ripa, the new Southwest Airlines General Manager of the San Diego International Airport Station.
Debbie Ripa is the new Southwest Airlines General Manager of the San Diego International Airport Station. However, she is no newcomer to the airline industry or working in stations. In fact, Debbie has been in the industry for almost 25 years, 14 of which she has been working for Southwest Airlines. During her career, she has worked in three different stations, starting as a Customer Service Supervisor, then a Training Supervisor, then various managerial roles, working her way up, preparing for her new role as station manager. A station manager is a very important position as they are in charge of both the ground and flight operations which includes passenger services, aircraft handling and air cargo.
Throughout the last five years of this journey, Debbie has been trying to find her way back to San Diego, since she and her husband used to love living in Alpine commenting, “My husband and I are so excited to be back in San Diego and look forward to being a part of the community.” Debbie’s priorities have always been raising her family, being a part of the community, and making a difference, which is why she enjoys working for Southwest Airlines – they have the same vision.
Southwest Airlines is dedicated to giving back to the communities they serve, including San Diego. This year alone, they have been involved with MANA de San Diego, San Ysidro Health, Promises2Kids, Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank, LEAD San Diego, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, San Diego Girl Scouts, and many more. Southwest Airlines’ HEART extends far to those in the San Diego community, and so does Debbie’s. As for her role in giving back, she has been involved with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, Make-a-Wish, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, which she describes as “near and dear” to her own heart.
Debbie strives to infuse this same level of compassion in everything she does, including her new role. Her leadership style is rooted in leadership development because she truly believes in helping others any way she can. As a leader, she is dedicated to investing in people because they deserve it. Her favorite quote sums up how well she fits in with the Southwest Airlines culture of giving and making the community better; “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
In keeping with her Warrior Spirit, Debbie’s goal is to ensure that how she makes people feel will have a positive impact on the lives of the people she, and Southwest Airlines, serve here in San Diego.