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From Flight Attendant To Founder: Meet The Woman Who Started A Company To Make Airport Travel More Accessible To Everyone | Essence

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From Flight Attendant To Founder: Meet The Woman Who Started A Company To Make Airport Travel More Accessible To Everyone | Essence

From Flight Attendant To Founder: Meet The Woman Who Started A Company To Make Airport Travel More Accessible To Everyone
Travelsist

Veronica Woodruff went from flight attendant to founder when she started the innovative tech travel company Travelsist, which provides on-demand airport assistance to people who need extra help while traveling.

For over a decade, Woodruff worked as a flight attendant and observed the various obstacles passengers faced at the airport, especially those with small children. So, she decided to try and find a solution.

Her career thoughts began to shift after she met a tech mentor who saw potential in her. “They introduced me into the world of tech, guided me through my first pitch session, and that’s how I landed where I am now, which is my true passion—entrepreneurship.”

At that time, Woodruff also participated in hackathons and recalled how one investor told her, “It’s time for you to solve a problem of your own.” Working with what she knew, Woodruff had an epiphany: “each time that I traveled with my small daughter, I realized that it was a struggle for me. There was no dedicated service to meet and assist me at the airport,” she said. 

From Flight Attendant   To Founder: Meet The Woman Who  Started      A Company To Make Airport Travel More Accessible To Everyone

“I can remember taking a trip to California to visit family, and I started connecting the dots. I remember during my time as a flight attendant how I would always watch moms with small children struggle to get on board the plane and thinking, How much has this evolved?”

Woodruff said that seeing people go through those experiences at the airport and often having struggles of her own made her want to do something about it, and that’s how this innovative Afro-Latina business owner launched Travelsist in 2020.

Since then, Woodruff’s tech efforts have been backed by $1.1 million in venture capital funding, and she has participated in accelerators such as J.P. Morgan & Techstars and The Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE) in conjunction with The Rockefeller Foundation’s Opportunity Collective (ROC).

GoDaddy’s Venture Forward research initiative states that Black women are “the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, more than doubling since August 2019. Black women total 10% of entrepreneurs surveyed for the latest report, representing a 70% increase in the number of Black women-owned businesses started before the pandemic.”

Travelsist is an artificial intelligence (AI) powered platform travel companion that helps make the process work more smoothly for those who need a little more help at the airport, whether it’s a family traveling with young children, someone in a wheelchair, someone who has special requirements, someone who needs help finding directions, a senior traveler, or a VIP traveler. Users can download the app and reserve an assistant who can help them get from airport drop-off to boarding the plane more easily. 

“We’re on a mission to transform the travel tech landscape by leveraging innovative solutions to enhance airport experiences and make travel more inclusive,” said Woodruff. “Our main focus is on accessibility. We focus on helping people with special or extra needs get through the airport safely, seamlessly, and on time and be empowered. Through our technology, we’re giving the power back so they can enhance and create their own experiences at the airport.”

Travelsist is currently serving Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson airport and has expansion plans. For Woodruff, thinking holistically about her employees and supporting other women was essential. “We hire within opportunity zones, which are the surrounding areas around the airport,” stated Woodruff, adding, “and most of our contractors are single moms,” she shares.

“The airport provides one of the safest environments for people to work in. It also provides the most jobs in every city and for women, we’re providing flexible, safe, competitive work options. Not only that, they get to meet people from all over the world.”

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