When a young lawyer asks Madeleine Johnson, vice president and general counsel of Southwest Airlines, what's the best path to becoming the GC of a large company, she always has the same response: "Not the one I took."
As an undergrad at Bryn Mawr College, Johnson majored in French. Upon graduation, she decided to continue her French studies in graduate school, focusing on medieval literature. But after a year of that, she realized she wanted to do something a little more current.
Q: What interested you about the airline industry?
A: I didn't have a background in aviation. And I wasn't specifically looking for work in this industry. I feel so fortunate to have ended up with such a fabulous company but in such an amazing industry. The airline industry is very high profile. It's not a sleepy industry, it is frequently front-page news. It is almost mind-boggling about how complex the airline industry is.