Linda Rutherford is Vice President of Communication and Outreach for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, the nation’s largest airline in terms of Customer boardings. Responsibilities include overseeing media relations, special event planning, crisis communications, emergency response and business continuity planning, community relations and charitable giving, corporate community affairs, public relations, emerging and multimedia, legislative communication/grassroots activities, Southwest’s Speaker’s Bureau, employee communications, and graphic design and creative services. Prior to joining Southwest Airlines, she was a reporter for several Dallas-area suburban newspapers as well as with the Dallas Times Herald, and she began her career with Newsweek magazine in New York.
Linda has worked her way up through the ranks of Southwest Airlines. She began her career in 1992 as the fifth member of the Communication Department. In 2006, Linda assumed the role of Vice President in the Department with 80 people.
Among the honors Linda has received are 2012 inductee into the PR News Measurement Hall of Fame; 2012 Margaret Bush Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award by the St. Louis NAACP; 2011 named a Top Executive in Diversity by Black Enterprise magazine; 2009 inductee in to the Texas Tech College of Mass Communications Hall of Fame; 2008 inductee into PR News’ Public Relations Hall of Fame; PR Week recently recognized Southwest Airlines as one of five companies that “gets social media”; PR News names Nuts About Southwest the best corporate blog for 2007, 2008 and 2009; and then inducts the blog into its Hall of Fame.
In addition to her professional life, Linda is quite active in civic leadership holding such positions as Immediate Past Chairman of the board, Lewisville Independent School District’s Education Foundation board of directors; past chairman and member, Texas Tech Mass Communications National Advisory Board; member, board of directors of Friends of Texas Public Schools; former board member and chairman, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Educational Foundation; volunteer grant and scholarship application reader, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Educational Foundation; member, Texas Tech Alumni Association’s National Board of Directors; Former Chairman and current member, board of directors of National Safe Place; and graduate, Leadership Texas Class of 2003.
Linda is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Texas Tech University; 1988 Outstanding Journalism Graduate; and named one of the 2002 Outstanding Alumni of the Texas Tech College of Mass Communications.