Stephanie Chung’s first aviation job was as a baggage handler at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Since then, she’s never looked back.
“From then on, I knew aviation was my passion and that I would follow that dream,” says Chung, who is chief growth officer of charter provider Wheels Up. As a groundbreaking aviation executive pursuing growth and diversity, Chung was the first Black president of a private aviation company, JetSuite.
Chung, who is in demand as a motivational speaker, believes in working smarter and using all the research at your disposal to get the most out of yourself and your organization.
“For women, and women of color especially, it’s easy to be underestimated in the aviation field and only be offered certain jobs that are traditionally ‘for women,’” said Chung. “It was important for me to show people throughout my career that I deserved the harder job, the bigger title and more responsibility. I hope that my efforts have paved the way so that women don’t have to over-prove themselves as much anymore.”
Chung emphasized that with the variety of aviation jobs, anyone should be able to find a career that suits them.
“Trust yourself, know that you’re capable and be bold in going after what you want.”
Stephanie Chung Chief Growth Officer, Wheels Up
“We need to encourage the next generation to believe that they can find opportunity in a variety of places, and that there isn’t one linear path that suits everyone,” she declared. “We need to celebrate individuality and unique achievements – and remind young people that success is not uniform.”
Chung credits numerous mentors with contributing to her professional success and believes it’s essential to pay it forward.
“Many professionals readily share advice through forums and content that allow us to mentor more people from afar and reach more people than ever before,” she said. “I am dedicated to helping the next generation of passionate aviation professionals reach their goals in this industry.”
As an inspiration to many young women, especially those of color, Chung has advice for them.
“Trust yourself, know that you’re capable and be bold in going after what you want. It’s great to see more Black women represented as their authentic selves and in roles of leadership. I hope this continues to inspire younger women to be themselves.”
STEPHANIE CHUNG, a 35-year aviation professional, is chief growth officer of Wheels Up and an award-winning motivational speaker, sales mentor and business advisor. She is the author of Profit Like a Girl: A Woman’s Guide to Kicking Butt in Sales and Leadership.