Focus 2018 Keynote Speaker

Linda Rutherford, Senior Vice President & Chief Communications Officer

Linda Rutherford is Senior Vice President, Chief Communications Officer, for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, the nation’s largest airline in terms of domestic 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, social business, multimedia and visual communication, legislative communication/grassroots activities, Southwest’s Speaker’s Bureau and employee communications. Prior to joining Southwest Airlines in 1992, she was a journalist in the Dallas area, including working for the Dallas Times Herald, and she began her career with Newsweek magazine in New York.

Honors: 2016 Metrocrest Business Woman of the Year; 2016 PR Week named one of 36 Women Champions of PR; 2013 Tribute to Success honor by Connections to Success (Kansas City); 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.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Texas Tech University

Civic Activities: Chair, governance committee, Lewisville ISD’s Education Foundation Board of Directors; and graduate, Leadership Texas Class of 2003.

Academic/Professional Activities: Chapter author, "Mastering Business for Strategic Communicators" book (December 2017); Member, Arthur W. Page Society and part of Membership Committee; Member, Texas Tech University President’s Search Committee (2016); Current Member, Texas Tech College of Media & Communications National Advisory Board; Immediate Past Chair, Texas Tech Alumni Association’s National Board of Directors; Current Chair, Institute for Public Relations Board of Trustees; taught undergraduate short course, “Rapid Response Communication in a New Age,” Spring 2014 semester, Texas Tech University College of Media & Communication

Personal: Married (Michael) with two children, Allison (17) and Matthew (20).