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Leadership Unfiltered: CEO of PS | L.A. Tribune TV

Leadership Unfiltered | L.A. Tribune TV with Jessica Abo

In a recent episode of Leadership Unfiltered, Jessica Abo sits down with Amina Porter, the CEO of PS to discuss the company’s growth and her leadership philosophy

Jessica Abo: For those who don’t know what PS is, tell us a little bit about the company.

PS is an airport alternative experience. We offer a private airport terminal for passengers that are flying commercial. I always pause there because most people think it’s a private jet offering, but it’s not. It’s for usually premium travelers who, when flying commercial, want to skip the airport altogether either before or after their commercial flight.

For someone who is listening to this and thinking, “Oh, I could never afford that; or, that’s for a celebrity. Is this for everyone?

What we found is, of course, there is the public figure market that are our clients because they need the privacy and we’re very happy to be able to offer that. But we’re also here for anyone that’s celebrating or doing something unique. So if you’re going for your honeymoon and you want to splurge or if it’s your birthday or anniversary and you want to splurge, we are seeing a lot of that celebratory market. We love that.

When most people travel, they get on the plane and the vacation begins once they get to their hotel. In your case, the vacation really begins once people get into your lounge with some of the services that you offer.

By design, we look nothing like an airport. We look more like a private members club or luxury hotel; and, there’s all the white glove service that comes with that. We’re at your beck and call to make your favorite cocktail or your coffee just the way you like it. Our chef will create fresh food, so you can really relax and enjoy yourself with some champagne, maybe some caviar, or some spa services. We offer massages, and that feeling of serenity, relaxation, and celebration. By the time you get to your flight, you’ll have skipped the airport. You go through our own security screenings since we have our own TSA, and for international arrivals we have our own customs. That is such a big point of stress for people at the airport, right? Where you’re standing in line and you’re having to open your bags. It’s just a stressful situation. We eliminate that because it’s easy. It’s seamless. So by the time you’ve made it to your flight, you’ve already had a great time.

And now you’re trying to bring that feeling to more places. Where are you expanding?

Right now we’re in LA and Atlanta and we’re about to start construction in Dallas and Miami so those will be our next two. But our goal is to be in every major city in the United States – the New York’s, the San Francisco’s, the Chicago’s, the Boston’s, the DC’s, all those cities and really create a network of private airport terminals for commercial flights to create the magic of going end to end. This way, someone can fly from LA to New York and back and not step into the airport on any one of those four instances. That’s what we’d like to do.

I imagine through all of this that there is a lot of team building and when you’re expanding you are helping the next iteration of leaders get ready to be in charge of that location. Walk us through your leadership philosophy.

I’m not someone who has all the answers; but, I do have a lot of questions and hopefully as we sit and question and think through things together we can come to the answer. So, I believe in a really collaborative approach. The other thing I really believe in is that we are essentially inventing this category with homegrown talent. There is by definition, no one else we can hire who has done this before. Everyone who has done this before is within our 300-employee company right now. It excites me to be able to identify the talent and nurture it so that we have a big bench of leaders as we grow.

Finally, what trends do you see coming on the horizon in the travel space?

I think people want to be able to buy space and privacy for themselves in whatever way that means for them. And we’re certainly in that business. We were accidentally in the business of social distancing before we even knew what that term was. So the trend for privacy is there. The other trend is this you only live once mentality, which we’re seeing in travel, but also in fashion and a lot of categories.

I think these trends were underway; but, the pandemic reminded us that we can’t take our days and our time with our loved ones or our freedom to travel for granted. So the time is now; and if you can, you should enjoy it.

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