International Women’s Week: Carol Cork Co-Founder and Marketing Director of PrivateFly
Carol Cork is the Co-Founder and Marketing Director of PrivateFly - a global private jet broker company, with websites covering 19 countries.
Carol began her career in media sales, rising into a sales management role before moving into promotions and marketing. She has worked in the media and specifically within the luxury and travel sectors for the last 14 years.
Her understanding of the luxury sector has been vital in the branding and marketing of PrivateFly. In 2014, she was chosen as one of Marketing Week’s Vision 100, celebrating the UK’s top marketers.
The team at Toronto School of Management spoke with Carol about her achievements in business.
Can you describe a typical day as Marketing Director at PrivateFly?
As Marketing Director, I head up the overall marketing strategy for PrivateFly, including our digital marketing, brand marketing, and communications activity. I also sit on our board of directors, helping to steer PrivateFly's growth strategy and development.
It may sound like a cliché, but every day is different. It's incredibly varied, so I might be overseeing a new video project one day, pitching for a new business contract, or travelling between our UK and US offices (we're based in St Albans, just north of London and also in Fort Lauderdale, Florida).
What inspired you to get into the business of private jet brokering?
I previously worked in the media for 14 years, during which time I worked closely with the travel and aviation industries, both seeing a fundamental online shift.
I co-founded PrivateFly in 2008 alongside my husband Adam, who was working as a pilot in the business aviation sector, and together we saw an untapped opportunity to build a private jet marketplace, to make booking a private jet much faster, easier and more cost effective. It seemed like one of the last sectors of travel broking yet to be transformed by technology.
What gets you up in the morning, and keeps you motivated in the good and the bad times?
We're actually a 24/7 business that is fully operational around-the-clock - that's not to say that I don't sleep myself, but it's exciting to wake up to see new flight bookings overnight from clients in many different countries and time zones!
Motivation for me through the good and the bad is helped by being in control. I relish the opportunity and responsibility for making business decisions and making myself accountable for both the successes and failures. My team also keep me motivated - I'm proud that we are bringing a pipeline of fresh talent into the private jet industry - from sales, operations, marketing, tech, and finance- so I really enjoy working with (and learning from) such an exciting team of people.
What advice would you give an aspiring women founder/co-founder?
Listen, learn, laugh, and love what you do. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help and tell people your story. We were lucky to find some great business mentors early on who really encouraged our idea for PrivateFly, but you have to build a strong network around you of other entrepreneurs (men and women) that you can share ideas and challenges with and to help you grow your business opportunity and profile.
People want to help, and if they see that passion in you, it's infectious. Some of our early clients became such strong advocates of the business and helped our growth path enormously.
And finally, what does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It recognizes an ongoing quest for equality across all boundaries. It shouldn't be about just one day, but if this allows a platform to celebrate and empower women, and gets the conversation going about gender parity, that's really important.
As a mother to a young son and daughter, I really recognize the need to build confidence in the next generation of women and I'm really encouraged to see some of the initiatives in education to try and equalize some of the gender inequalities.