Location: Charlotte, NC
Industry: Aviation staffing
Jennifer Guthrie always knew she wanted to own her own business. “I’ve always wanted to create something myself, and I like the challenge of solving problems. I also like helping people out — and getting people jobs,” says Guthrie, CEO of In-Flight Crew Connections (ICC). She started ICC during one the worst periods for aviation — six months after 9/11. Despite that challenge, the company made $800 in its first month and has grown almost every year since.
Fun Fact: ICC’s office includes a “Fun Room” with a television, game console, popcorn machine and a comfortable place for children to come and do homework after school.
During the recession, ICC’s revenue plummeted by two-thirds. Guthrie was forced to lay off all office staff except herself and a part-time bookkeeper. It was also difficult to obtain funding from banking institutions. “I found the banks unwilling to risk, even with good credit and a very promising opportunity. I was forced to ask for a personal family loan,” says Guthrie. By broadening ICC’s services and through her persistence, Guthrie was able to turn the company around in 2011, increasing revenue by 416 percent. ICC now supports more than 360 aircraft based in the U.S. and internationally.
Guthrie is involved with CARE for AIDS, a nonprofit that provides support, education, medication and other support to help parents living with HIV/AIDS in Africa. As part of her work with the organization, Guthrie travels to Africa to help educate parents on how to start their own business.