Ann Rhoades

Ann Rhoades | 2015 AACSB Influential Leader

Ann  Rhoades

PRES (Person Responsible for Extraordinary Service) and Founder, People Ink

Honoree Year: 2015

Alma Mater:

University of New Mexico

Robert O. Anderson School of Management

United States

Area of Impact:

Mentorship or Leadership

With more than 25 years of experience in a variety of service-based industries, Ann Rhoades has been part of the development of some of the most recognizable and impactful corporate cultures in America. Currently, she serves as the president of People Ink, her consulting company that helps organizations create unique workplace cultures based on values and performance. She previously held positions of vice president of the people department for Southwest Airline, executive vice president of team services for Promus Hotel Corporation, and, most recently, the executive vice president of people and co-founder of JetBlue Airways.

During her time as the head of the people department at Southwest Airlines, Rhoades helped solidify Southwest’s reputation of retaining and hiring the best people in the airline business. Today, Southwest Airlines is consistently ranked as one of the best airlines in the United States and has been listed as one of the best companies to work for. Thanks to her work, Southwest Airlines remains at the top of the airline industry for safety, corporate culture, customer satisfaction, and employee satisfaction.

One of the five founders of JetBlue Airways, Rhoades once stated that she wanted to bring humanity back to air travel, and it started with hiring the right people at the top. Today, JetBlue is consistently rated as one of the top airlines for customer satisfaction and has been recognized as one of America’s best companies to work for.

Rhoades’ passion for improving human experience also extends to the patient experience in healthcare. As a UNM Health Sciences Center Board of Director, Rhoades has worked to bring her leadership model to the healthcare industry. Rhoades was part of the team that opened the UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Her team understood that the human element—the physicians, nurses, and staff who would be providing the services—was just as important as the physical structure. In 2013, Press Ganey Associates named the Sandoval Regional Medical Center as one of its Guardian of Excellence award winners. This prestigious award recognizes top medical facilities that have consistently achieved the 95th percentile of performance in patient satisfaction.

Rhoades has served on more than 20 corporate and nonprofit boards in her career. This distinguished list includes the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center; UNM Alumni Association; Safer New Mexico Now; New Mexico Appleseed; JetBlue Airways; P.F. Chang’s China Bistro; HireVue, Inc.; the Executive Council-Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice; Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Accion New Mexico; Restoration Hardware; the Albuquerque Community Foundation; the University of New Mexico Foundation Board; United Way of Santa Fe; Western Warehouse; and the University of Dallas.

In 2011, Rhoades published her book, titled Built on Values, about creating an enviable culture that outperforms the competition. The book helps companies get on the pathway to greatness by showing the exact steps for either curing an ailing company culture or creating a new one from scratch.