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JetSuite Inc. President Stephanie Chung is the world’s best packer

By Melissa Locker | Fast Company

Stephanie Chung was born on an Air Force base, so it’s easy to believe that aviation is in her blood. She’s spent 30 years working in commercial and business aviation, and now has taken charge as president at private aviation company JetSuite, Inc. Chung is the first African American to lead a major private-aviation company and will help guide the company into the future as it launches its partnership with Zunum Aero, makers of hybrid-to-electric airplanes.

Here, the airline executive reveals her tips and tools for getting the most out of every day.What do you do in the morning to get your brain and body going?

Nothing gets me ready for the day like music. Music is a big deal for me. Depending on what the day ahead is looking like, I’ll choose a genre that suits that mood and blast it. To help me keep my energy up before a video shoot, I’ll play high-energy music and dance. Both at home before work and on the set, minutes before we shoot. When I’m feeling like I need to recharge and center, I love gospel music.

What do you listen to…

When you’re waking up? It really depends on my mood, but “Oceans” by Hillsong United is definitely up there as a favorite.
When you’re driving?Nice for What” by Drake
When you’re working out?High Hopes” by Panic at the Disco
When you’re hard at work on a big project?Build My Life” by Housefires
To get psyched for a big presentation?Number One Spot” by Ludacris
To mellow out at the end of the day?Lift Me Higher” by 3rd Force

What do you do to clear your head at the end of the day?

The first thing I do when I get home at the end of the day is jump straight into my comfiest sweats and catch up with my husband. Depending on how our days have gone, sometimes we’ll cook, sometimes we’ll order food. But no matter how busy we are, we always sit down and have dinner together.

What books are on your nightstand?

  1. The Meaning Revolution by Fred Kofman. This book is all about blending science and emotion together to enhance leadership in the workplace.
  2. Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser. This is a book that I dust off and reread a few times every year. It’s all about the power of the conversation and how the brain reacts–good or bad–to the way information is delivered.
  3. Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. This book is written by a former Yale student and takes a deep dive into happiness and the science behind it.
  4. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. I love how this book articulates the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset.
  5. Destiny by T.D. Jakes. This book is all about finding your purpose and then living in your purpose. Honestly, one of my biggest fears is leaving this world feeling like I didn’t live up to my potential. This book helps me home in on what matters most.

Where do you go to recharge and clear your head?

Cabo, 100%. I’ve long been a fan of the One and Only Palmilla, but I’m excited to check out Viceroy Los Cabos on my next visit.


[Photo: courtesy of Hyperice]

What’s a product that you are currently in love with?

There is this incredible machine called Hypervolt by a company, Hyperice, that my trainer introduced me to. It helps relieve the tension I carry in my back, shoulders, and neck. In three minutes, it does the work of a one-hour massage and apparently a lot of professional athletes use it too. It’s like a massage machine on steroids.

What app can you not live without?

Shazam. Like I said, I love music!

What classic product do you still use because you believe nobody’s ever improved on it?

Without a doubt my black, patent leather heels from Prada. They have the concealed platform under the toe and are hands down the best pair of shoes I’ve ever owned. I’ve gotten them fixed a dozen times, I just love them that much. I also love my Tumi bag. It doesn’t have hard case sides, so I can easily squeeze it into the overhead bin and they are nice and light. Those extra pounds matter when you’re a frequent flier like me.

What do you do with the time when you have…

A free five minutes? Reassess my to-do list.
A free hour? Honestly, if I have an hour free, I love to just sit and think. I put some music on and clear my head.
A whole free day? Pamper myself! I get a massage every other week and love spending the day at the Joule Spa in Dallas with a glass of champagne in my hand.

What’s a high-price-tag product that you recently splurged on, but feel no buyer’s remorse over?

My Louis Vuitton purses and this gorgeous David Yurman ring I have–it’s very special! I rarely have buyer’s remorse or feel guilty about my big-ticket purchases.

What travel tips do you swear by?

I like to say I’m the world’s best packer! And, yes, I refuse to check my bags. Long before my role at JetSuite, Inc. I worked for the airlines, so I know all the crazy things that could happen to one’s bag when they’re out of your site. My bags are half packed at all times with the essentials. I have a duplicate set of my toiletries already packed. I also always travel with slippers, which are the first things I put on at the hotel after a long day of meetings.

In terms of packing strategies, believe it or not, the plastic bags from the dry cleaners are a good tool to keep clothes wrinkle-free. I just pick my clothes out of the closet, wrap them with the plastic, and pack them that way. It’s pretty genius, and if anything spills in my bag, my clothes won’t get affected. They are wrinkle-free when I arrive at the hotel and never have to be ironed. Easy! I also wear a lot of St. John Knits because their fabrics travel exceptionally well.

What’s your favorite thing to eat when…

You’re in the middle of work and need a quick burst of energy? SunChips!
When you need a quick takeout lunch? Chick-fil-A. Their Southwestern Salad is pretty good.
When you have plenty of time to go out and eat? I love going out to eat at Sixty Vines in Dallas–it’s modeled after Napa cuisine. They have the most incredible burrata on bruschetta and a tonnarelli pasta that I love.

What do you love to do when you should be working?

  • Thinking of my next dinner outing with friends
  • Walking around and chatting with people on the team
  • Hanging out in our café cracking jokes with my colleagues


[Photo: courtesy of Garret Popcorn]

What’s your necessary vice?

Garrett Popcorn. They have the BEST caramel corn.