Sunday, May 29, 2022 May 29, 2022
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Dallas 500

Meet the Dallas 500: Stephanie Chung

The Wheels Up chief growth officer was the first Black president of a private aviation company.
By  D CEO |

Tasked with forging new revenue streams and relationships at Wheels Up, Stephanie Chung’s main objective is growth. Through her work, she’s pushing the aviation industry in new directions. “We were the first private aviation company to start a growth department and we’ve paved the way for inclusivity in our industry,” she says. Chung is no stranger to overcoming challenges and busting down barriers. She’s a cancer survivor and was the first Black president of a major aviation company. 

Chung was the first Black president of a private aviation company at JetSuite before becoming the first chief growth officer at Wheels Up, an on-demand private aviation company. In an extended version of the Dallas 500, Chung shares about her dream car, first job, destinations of choice, and what could make DFW even better.

Birthplace:  Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

First Job: “I worked as a research assistant at the University of Denver, but I quit the day my boss asked me to pick up a container of live mice. I quickly learned that it was important to follow my passion and not settle for a job that wasn’t right for me.”

Best Advice: “Major decisions about your career are made without you in the room. Create your own personal brand that demonstrates your value and shows your worth. It’s so much more than just putting your head down and doing the work.”

Dinner Party: “If I could have dinner with any two Dallas business leaders, I’d choose Mark Cuban and Cynt Marshall of the Dallas Mavericks.”

Destination of Choice: “I love Cabo. The food is great; the hotels are amazing; and it’s an easy trip from Dallas. On my bucket list is Zadún, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort.”

Nonprofit Cause: “My daughter founded a nonprofit called Elevation Society that’s very special to me. It focuses on reducing suicide, bullying, and depression for adolescents by uniting humans to collectively solve issues and showing every individual their life is worth fighting for.”

Local Fare: “I love RH Dallas | The Gallery on Knox. My favorite items are the crispy artichokes and the prosciutto and délice board.”

Fun fact: “I started my career in aviation working on the ramp, parking planes, and loading luggage.”

Toughest Challenge: “When I got my first big promotion in aviation, I went from being part of a sales team to managing that sales team. One day I was their peer and the next day I was their boss. As a leadership team, we had a mandate that if we couldn’t turn the company around within 90 days, it would be shut down. I had to make some very tough decisions, including an overhaul of the team. Luckily, we survived.” 

Dream Car: “A Bugatti. I love that they come in a million different colors.”

Proud Moment: “Last July, Wheels Up was the first private aviation company to go public on the NYSE.” 

A Better DFW: “I wish we had a Salt & Straw here. It’s my favorite ice cream store, and I’d love to see them here in Dallas.”

Walk-Up Song: “’Run the world (Girls)’ by Beyoncé”

MUST-READ: Perspective, by Brittany Chung. My daughter penned this book during COVID. It really helps individuals find ways to better themselves.”