Wheels Up's Heltebran named to Top Women in Travel list

By Doug Gollan, February 2, 2022

Women Leading Travel & Hospitality has named Wheels Up’s Chief Legal Officer Laura Heltebran to its annual list of Top Women In Travel & Hospitality.

It’s the second year in a row the New York-based private aviation provider has been represented. Last year, Chief Growth Officer Stephanie Chung made the list.

Other honorees included Caroline Beteta, President and CEO of Visit California; Rochelle Cameron, CEO of City of Philadelphia – Division of Aviation; Shannon Knapp, President and CEO of The Leading Hotels of the World; Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, and Tracie Winbigler, CFO at Amtrak.

Heltebran joined Wheels Up last year from Hilton Hotels.

Looking back and ahead

Speaking of her journey, Heltebran recalls, “When I was a freshly minted attorney in the ’90s, the tools and programs available to young professionals today didn’t exist, especially for a young female working in the tech space. Initially, I learned by observation. I took note of leadership styles and attributes that I liked and worked on incorporating them into my own brand of leadership.”

She adds, “I’ve been privileged to work with some of the best world-class HR organizations and have benefitted from programs designed to optimize leadership team functionality. Some individuals may dislike these exercises, but I find them to be amazing opportunities to increase self-awareness and better understand those around me. Communication is the foundation of any high-functioning leadership team, and receiving a 360-degree perspective on how my communication style best interacts with others has been a gift.”

Looking towards 2022, Heltebran says, “Professionally, I look forward to having time to focus on continuing to build out the legal function and to help the company navigate its first full calendar year as a public company. I think the next big professional goal is to be selected to serve on a public company board of directors. There’s no better preparation than the front row seat I’ve had standing up our public company board and governance, and it has been a pleasure to work closely with the fantastic board of directors we have at Wheels Up.”

Last week, Wheels Up entered an agreement to buy U.K.-based charter broker Air Partner. Yesterday, it revised terms for new Core members of its private aviation membership, indicating she may be in for another busy year.

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