Developing Leaders at Southwest Airlines: DBU Alum Dr. David Reyes

David Reyes standing next to CEO of Southwest Airlines, Bob Jordan
Dr. David Reyes (right) with CEO of Southwest Airlines Bob Jordan

"My DBU experience shaped me in so many ways," says Dr. David Reyes, Manager of Talent & Leadership Development at Southwest Airlines. "I knew from an early age I was called to ministry, and it's amazing to see how the Lord has allowed me to see ministry take place in a venue I could have never predicted." From his work at Southwest to developing workshops at DBU, non-profits, or his home church, Dr. Reyes is exercising his calling to train others to succeed using the unique gifts God has given them.

Soon after Dr. Reyes arrived at Southwest in January of 2022, the company decided to invest even more in developing their leadership talent and established a new department. After just eight months at the organization, Dr. Reyes accepted the challenge of a new role in managing the Enterprise Leadership Delivery Team, which comprises 10 individuals – a Coordinator and Senior Facilitators. Several other DBU graduates and former staff members also currently serve alongside Dr. Reyes on this team (Daniel Nix; Dr. Tempress Asagba; Mallory Pyles; Josh Farrar; Elizabeth "Elle" Clark; and Alexis Raies). Together they are living out the model of Christ-centered servant leadership they learned on University Hill in training thousands of employees at one of the top airline companies in the world.

"Our team leads all the Leadership Development Classes and Training for the organization. Our programs consist of the Initial Leadership Development Program, Recurrent Leadership Development Program, and the Clifton Strengths Leadership courses. Our leadership classes are required at varying levels for all leaders in the company. This has allowed us to impact over 6,000 leaders every year so that we can help develop their growth and also work to retain great talent. It is a big number and consists of hundreds of classes, but it is an incredible opportunity to steward. Not only have I been able to see growth in the leaders we come across with daily, but I have also seen myself grow as a leader. Leading a group of Leadership Development Professionals is a great way to stay accountable as a leader and even more than that, I get to learn so much from my team."

David Reyes speakingDr. Reyes has seized the opportunity to share his faith and spiritual testimony openly at Southwest. "There is a culture of ‘LUV,' and just as everyone gets to share their worldview, I also have that window to encourage others in different ways even though they may not believe the same things I do." He is also thankful to continue a work that he started while on staff at DBU, which is the opportunity to engage and encourage the next generation of Hispanic student leaders through Southwest's partnerships with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and many others.

Dr. David Reyes is a three-time graduate of DBU (B.A. Christian Studies, 2013; M.A. Communication, 2015, Ed.D. Educational Leadership, 2021). From 2018 to 2020, he served as DBU's Student Life Director before stepping into the role of Dean of Spiritual Life. Dr. Reyes was also the founding president of the campus fraternity Pi Theta Tau and is continuing to serve at DBU as an adjunct professor of Communication. Recently, he joined Buckner International as a member of the trustee board. "It is an honor to be a part of such a great organization that I learned about while a student at DBU and to now also use my ‘Cohearts' at Southwest to serve with me at Buckner's Family Hope Center in Bachman Lake."  

Dr. Reyes lives in Arlington with his wife, Madison (DBU ‘15), and son, Judah. They attend Fielder Church in Arlington where Dr. Reyes serves as a Deacon and a community group leader.

Written by University Communications