Spotlight on Silke Koehnecke, 2021 WINiT Top 50 Women in Travel Recipient


Proudly connecting People to what is important in their lives since 1999. Silke began her Southwest Airlines journey in Marketing and has since served in a variety of Leadership positions in Corporate Sales, Business Development, and currently Southwest Business where she is part of the Leadership Team responsible for the business travel sales strategy for Government, Military, Higher Education Institutions, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Meetings Travel.

Growing up, Silke traveled the world as a US Air Force dependent, where her passion for people, planes, travel and service began. She received her BBA from University of Texas, El Paso in Marketing and Production Operations Management. She credits the privilege of Leading a Team of passionate Servant Leaders as her source of inspiration.

Why is the existence of a group like WINiT important in the industry?
Founded on passion and purpose, WINiT champions change through education and networking with diverse Business Travel Industry experts and leaders. Providing both the environment and the resources to engage, learn, and collaborate; groups like WINiT bring together and advance the business travel community needs to build a brighter future.

What do you love about being in business travel?
Connecting People and businesses with what is important. From the day-to-day Customer-facing needs of a road warrior to the closed-door boardroom discussions or expanding education, products and services through conventions and tradeshows, nothing replaces the value of in-person interaction and communication.

Who or what inspires you to continue working hard, even on the most challenging days?
Our People. Two of my favorite quotes from Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines Founder, are “Your People come first, and if you treat them right, they’ll treat the Customer right” and “A Company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear.” It is a privilege to Lead a Team of passionate, hard-working, difference makers while fostering a Culture where they feel empowered, recognized, and appreciated. I get the greatest sense of pride seeing their hard work acknowledged by their peers internally and externally.

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