Business

How a flight attendant channeled her frustration into creating a travel company to make travel easy

Veronica Woodruff, CEO of the digital travel company Travelsist, arrived at her current position after a long and winding route. She started as a flight attendant and stayed in that role for over 10 years, seeing the different challenges that travelers, particularly those with little children, experienced at the airport.

She also experienced the struggle of traveling alone with her young daughter. She told Essence, “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.”

The mompreneur stated that watching other people’s experiences at airports, as well as her own challenges, inspired her to launch Travelsist in 2020.

The Afro-Latina entrepreneur recalled how she found a tech mentor who recognized her talent and helped her realize her ideas. “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,” she recounted.

Around this time, Woodruff also participated in hackathons and recalled how an investor told her, “It’s time for you to solve your own problem.” And that started the process of birthing Travelsist.

Woodruff’s technological efforts have since received $1.1 million in venture money, and she has participated in accelerators such as JP Morgan & Techstars and The Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE), which is a collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation’s Opportunity Collective (ROC).

Travelsist is a travel companion that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to make the process easier for people who require a little extra assistance at the airport. These people may include VIPs, senior citizens, families traveling with small children, people in wheelchairs, people with special needs, and those who need help finding their way. Upon downloading the app, users can schedule an assistant to facilitate their transition from airport drop-off to aircraft boarding.

With aspirations to grow, Woodruff’s company now provides services to Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport. She emphasized that the group hires within opportunity zones, which are the surrounding areas around the airport. Most of the company’s contractors are single mothers.

“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.”

Dollita Okine

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