Christine Ortega

Christine Ortega
International Senior Advisor, Community Affairs & Grassroots, Southwest Airlines

Christine’s passion for education, arts & culture and social justice, lace many endeavors in her professional career. Christine has shown creativity in responding to community needs, and versatility in connecting national, international and local leaders.  She currently advises Southwest Airlines leaders to better engage with U.S. and international communities to which the airline flies. 

In her current role, Ortega facilitates communication between high levels of government officials and Southwest Airlines executive leaders.  This includes international liaison to translate in-person meetings as she has done for the past two years in Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.  Meetings will vary from Emergency Response, training, and diplomatic in nature.

As a senior advisor for International Community Affairs, Christine moves with quick and compassionate action when communities are faced with crises. This was true with community-based groups in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, and in Miami after the earthquake in Haiti.  As another example, Ortega organized a team of Southwest Airlines Employees who assembled new furniture for AAMA House in Houston, Texas, after lightning struck and burned down the student dormitory on the school campus.  In addition, Christine formulated the Southwest Airlines Take Off!/¡Lánzate! Higher Education Travel Award which was recently recognized by the White House as a best in class, public/private education collaboration.   This unique education program provides transportation to Latino students who travel away from home to a college or university. 

After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, Christine Ortega initially launched into an exciting, visual television career eventually reaching the level of producer for KLRN-TV.  Working in the San Antonio PBS affiliate, Ortega created the nationally recognized TV series, “Heritage”--an innovative video-magazine highlighting Latino culture.  The high quality and touching content earned Ortega a national PBS nomination in the category of cultural programming.

Christine’s strength in visual arts has manifested itself both professionally and personally.  Professionally, she led the agency effort to create a national stay-in-school advertising campaign for the Hispanic Association of Colleges & University (HACU).  On a personal level, Christine has curated her own art exhibits in Denver, CO and Houston, TX featuring photographic images captured from her many journeys.

In addition, Christine shares her business acumen with the non-profit sector by serving on national boards and commissions.  She currently serves on the Smithsonian Institute’s Latino Center board, on the National History Day Board of Directors, and the University of Notre Dame Board of Advisors.

Christine is intent on making a difference with community based groups home and abroad. Her more recent focus includes building bridges with international leaders as the airline moves into the Caribbean, Mexico and other Latin American countries.   Her efforts have been recognized over the years: 

·         2015 Community Champion Award, Business Choice “Star” Awards, Tri-County/International Black Chamber of Commerce

·         2014 Houston NALAC National Honoree, National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures

·         2014 Woman of the Year, International Women & Money Leadership Conference, TWEF

·         2013 Elaine Mendoza Visionary Award, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

·         “Outstanding Latina Role Model,” Image de San Antonio

Christine Ortega is the grand-daughter of Juan V. & Dominga M. Medrano, and Silvestre & Florencia C. Ortega.  As migrant farm workers, they handed down their personal secret: the power of presence when aligned with courage, makes a difference in life.  Ortega is blessed with a family who shares an understanding that love is an organic concept:  it always grows. 

Consequently, Christine strives to demonstrate respect and compassion in daily life starting with the smallest gestures.

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