Wheels Up, a leading brand in private aviation, recently hired its first Chief Growth Officer, Stephanie Chung. Ms. Chung is no stranger to the aviation industry, having worked for big names like Bombardier and JetSuite. When asked what sparked her passion for this industry, she recalls her upbringing as an Air Force brat.
“I would hear planes literally taking off and landing my entire life, every day, throughout the day,” she said. “That’s really where my love for aviation started to be planted.”
Though Ms. Chung knew early on that she wanted to be in the aviation industry, she wasn’t always sure how she would do it. She knew she didn’t want to be a flight attendant and, back then, she didn’t know that women could be pilots.
“My very first job was parking planes and loading luggage at Boston Logan Airport. And I loved that job. I absolutely loved that job,” Chung said.
She would also sometimes work at her airline’s ticket counter for extra cash. It was during one of her shifts at the ticket counter that one of her airline’s sales executives suggested she consider a career in sales.
“My first sales job was selling the field sales for US Airways. I was 25-years-old, my quota was $25 million and I specialized in corporate sales,” Chung said.
From there, she worked her way up through the aviation sales industry, eventually becoming President of JetSuite, another major private aviation company. Now she’s at Wheels Up, and she has big plans.
Diversifying Their Customer Base
“Wheels Up is a fantastic brand. It is, in my opinion, the most progressive forward-thinking brand in private aviation,” Chung said. “Wheels Up offers a total aviation solution that includes membership options, corporate solutions, or, perhaps as you go up the scale, if you want to buy a whole aircraft from us, you can do that if you want us to manage the aircraft.”
As Chief Growth Officer, one of her goals is to make Wheels Up services more visible and appealing to women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community.
“We want to use our platform, not just to make sure that our particular company is much more diverse, and that we grow a pipeline for diverse, young people who want to join the industry, but we want to make sure that we use our platform to call the entire industry to do what we’re doing,” she said.
The Pink Plane
One of Ms. Chung’s first activities as CGO is diving into Wheels Up’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month efforts. As part of their Wheels Up Cares initiative, they’ve painted several aircraft to bring attention to certain important causes.
“I’m a breast cancer survivor. So it’s a subject that’s very, very, very near and dear to my heart,” Chung said. “If you’re a woman of color, specifically a Black woman, you know, the death rates are 40% higher than white women.”
With The Pink Plane, they hope to raise awareness for breast cancer year-round and lend support to the Dubin Breast Center of The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai in New York City.
Learn more about Wheels Up Cares here.