April 29, 2019
When I became president of King Aerospace in 2016, I had a sense of the role’s magnitude. I grew up in aviation and witnessed the extraordinary effort it took my father, Jerry, to build a company. Still I had to walk in his shoes to understand the enormity of leadership.
I turn 30 this summer, putting me almost squarely in the middle of the Millennials. Our generation is said to be civic-minded and team-oriented, but also sheltered and entitled. I don’t like labels, but if you think of the Millennials in your life, you know that we want to change the world.
Tap into Fresh Perspectives and Skillsets
Former Southwest Airlines CEO Herb Kelleher was a mentor to my dad and played a pivotal role in shaping King Kulture. Kelleher’s servant leadership lives on at the company he founded and at King Aerospace.
Culture may start at the top, but it permeates every part of your operation. Ensuring individual team members share common corporate values and purpose doesn’t just happen. Team members need to know their “why.” Your job as a leader is to help them find it. That involves taking the time to get to know people. As a team, you must agree upon what you stand for and what sets you apart in the marketplace.
We All Need Help
I appreciate the mentors in my life. My dad, of course, but also Ron Soret of Aeria Luxury Interiors and Jeff Barstow of The Boeing Company/BBJ. Their call-me-anytime offers of help aren’t just empty words. They generously share the wisdom they’ve gained through decades in the industry. It means everything to have counsel you trust.
Not all of my lessons have taken place on the job. I’ve watched my mother successfully beat two rounds of cancer. Her never-give-up example gives me strength while her unfailing sense of humor reminds me that we just happen to work on airplanes. Our real job is to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
A version of this article originally appeared in Business Jet Interiors International, April issue.