In Episode 22 of “5 Questions with the CEO,” General Joe Votel talks with trendsetting aviation executive and BENS member, Stephanie Chung. The first African-American president of an aviation brand, she was named to Adweek’s 2021 Women Trailblazers and to the Robb Report 2021 magazine featuring “23 Black Visionaries Who are Changing the Luxury World Right Now.”
Chung talks about shattering glass ceilings, sales psychology, the neuroscience of selling, and how being a military child shaped her views on strength and service. Votel and Chung explore their strong belief that today’s generation of young people are up for the global challenges ahead.
Don’t miss this high-energy discussion about cutting-edge science, proven leadership strategies, personal stories, and Stephanie’s trademark sense of humor!
With over 30 years of experience catalyzing transformative growth in the aviation sector, Stephanie Chung is widely recognized as a trailblazer, from her early career as a progressive sales leader with Bombardier Aerospace and US Airways (now American) to later being appointed the first African-American president of a major private aviation company when she took the helm at JetSuite.
In 2020, Chung joined Wheels Up, one of the largest private aviation companies in the world, as the first Chief Growth Officer, focusing on generating revenue through new client acquisition by building preference and loyalty among diverse customer segments, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and women. In 2022, Chung transitioned roles and served as a Global Brand Ambassador for the company.
Stephanie is currently an active member of c200, a community of the most successful women in business, and the Business Executives for National Security (BENS), a nonpartisan nonprofit comprised of business executives who apply best practices and cutting-edge ideas to help solve some of the nation’s most complex security challenges. Chung also serves on the Advisory Council of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and is on the board of Make-A-Wish.
Stephanie has received numerous accolades in hospitality, luxury travel and aviation. She was named to Adweek’s 2021 Women Trailblazers and to the Robb Report 2021 magazine featuring “23 Black Visionaries Who are Changing the Luxury World Right Now.” She was also named one of “2021 Top Women in Travel & Hospitality” by Women Leading Travel & Hospitality. She was listed on the 2020 Ebony Power 100, in Savoy Magazine’s “Americas Most Influential Black Executives of 2022”, in D CEO Magazine’s Top 500 and in a feature article on “Women Who Built Dallas.” Stephanie has been a contributing columnist for Inc. and Black Enterprise Magazine and is a highly sought-after speaker.
Business Executives for National Security welcomes you to 5 Questions with the CEO where BENS CEO, General Joe Votel, former commander of all United States Special Forces and forces in 21 countries in the Middle East and Asia, interviews top business leaders focusing on their stories, strategies, and real-world experiences. Here we want to know why they’re passionate about sharing their talents and insights to assist senior leaders in the national security enterprise as they solve some of our nation’s most pressing challenges and why they are part of a growing number of executives who understand that national security is everyone’s business.
General Joe Vote:
Welcome everyone to another episode of the BENS podcast, 5 Questions with the CEO. A podcast series where we talk with our members to learn more about their experience, their expertise, and what brought them to BENS. Our guest today is Dallas-based member Stephanie Chung. Stephanie is an American business executive who was the first African American to serve as president of a private aviation company in the United States as she was president of JetSuite from August of 2018 to April of 2020. In August of 2020, Stephanie became the inaugural Chief Growth Officer of Wheels Up. She’s previously held executive positions at Bombardier Aerospace, Sky Jet Airlines, and Flex Jet and she’s also an award-winning leadership speaker and sales coach, and to boot, she’s also the daughter of an Air Force NCO, and grew up on an air base. Stephanie, welcome to BENS, first of all, and welcome to our podcast.
Thank you so much. I’m so excited for this podcast. It’s really nice to be here, especially with you General.
General Joe Votel:
We’re so excited to have you on board here and looking forward to, to talking with you. So I wanna start where I kinda left off here. And that is, you know, as as an Air Force military child, you know, my wife Michelle and I raised two boys as military children as well. And so I know that the choice that I made, the choice that we made to serve meant that my family also served and sacrificed all along the way with that. How did being the child of a service member shape your path, shape your view towards service and what you’re doing these days?
I always love this question because I wear it with such a badge of honor. I loved being a child of a soldier. Loved it, loved my entire experience growing up. And my dad, he was in radar. So we moved every two years of my life and and it really shaped me. It, it, it formed me not just as a little girl. And so I’ll talk about that in just a second, but also as an executive, how I see the world has a lot to do with how I grew up in the world. And so, you know, and you get it. I mean, I love talking to you because I know that you understand everything I’m getting ready to say. When you grow up on a military base, a lot of people don’t understand it, especially if they’ve never been on a military base or if they’ve not spent a lot of time on it. But for me, this, you know, I’m looking at it from the eyes of a little girl, right? So for me, what I really enjoyed about being a military bratt is I grew up around excellence, literally excellent. I saw that every single day of my life. I saw leadership, you know exhibited every single day of my life. And the reason why I say excellence is when you think of our men and women in the armed forces, you know, they’ve got shiny shoes and creased pants and you know, you don’t see wrinkles in there. And so what you see is, you know, people who are fit, people who are disciplined, people who, you know, just if they’re just standing there, look like perfection. And then the way that they treat each other, you know? And there’s nothing, there’s nothing like being on a military base where everybody’s looking at each other in the eye and saying, yes, ma’am, yes sir. Hello. Thank you. Like the basics, right? So I grew up seeing that, and therefore that was my expectation. Fast forward, moving into the business world, how it shaped me was one, because I moved around so much, I got to interact with so many different people from so many different walks of life. And I am so incredibly grateful for that. That is my competitive advantage, right? And so how I grew up, you know, seeing all that in the military you know, being around the military all the time, but also the fact that you see leadership, you see cause and effect, right? You see you know, authority and not in a bad way, but in a good way. I know if I did something stupid and got in trouble, my father would be the one called in <laugh> to answer for it, right? So, so therefore I was very mindful. <Laugh>, you’re shaking your head ’cause you totally get it, very mindful. But but you know, as a leader, what I learned was really the fact that how you treat people, you know, hello, please, thank you. Kindness respect, all those things still matter. So that’s always important. The second part is the fact that I can communicate and interact with literally anybody, because I’ve probably met someone like them before. And so I’m just incredibly grateful. It really, and I, and I got to travel around all the time. So I, my my viewpoint is a very kind of a big thought process and a big way of looking at things versus being small minded. So I’m incredibly grateful for the experience.
General Joe Votel:
Thinking back about our two boys and the experience we had with ’em. I mean as you were kind of referencing there you know, parents being directly responsible for everything kids do or fail to do, and with, you know, two young boys and who grew up in young men during the time we were in, we certainly had our share of all of that. It was all good. They sort of, they survived it. We survived it, but I, I’m always amazed at just how resilient both of them are in terms of how they can handle change and absorb other things along the way. And I just, I think these are really good skills and, you know, they’ve both found their own path outside of the military, and my wife and I are very, very proud of that. But it’s definitely a lot that came with growing up as as military kids.
It’s so cool because it’s funny that you talk about your sons with change, and I would say probably my strength is the fact that I am very adaptable. And that’s because, you know, when you’re moving all around, you’re always the, I always call myself a professional new kid because you’re always the new kid in the neighborhood, new kid in the class. Like, you have to adapt all the time. And I, I’ll tell you a funny story. When I worked for one of the major airlines, we did a major, you had do a major layoff. This was many, many years ago. And after the layoffs, because there was so massive, they brought all of us managers and above in to kind of talk to us, see how we’re feeling, you know, it was just a, it was a horrible time for, for the business at that particular season. And I remember the psychiatrist, calling around asking everybody about how they felt. I, I said something along the lines of like, you know, this was, this was not fun, but, you know, I mean, it is what is in, it was kinda like, like, I didn’t say it in a mean, in a mean way, let’s move on. But that’s kind of what I, the impression I was giving. And I remember people in the, my peers were like, I can’t believe you know, that you would be so insensitive. And I’m like, I’m not insensitive. I’m just like, but we did what we had to do and now we gotta, you know, clear our head and get ready to, ’cause we still have a group of people we still have to lead, right? And, and pull this airline outta the situation. And I remember the, there was me and another woman, everybody else, she, there’s two of us that agreed, like we had the same mindset. And so, you know, the five stages of grief, we had gone, we were at the fifth stage, right? Everybody was at stage two <laugh>. And so, and, and when the lady asked us, when the doctor asked us, you know, tell me a little bit about your background, it turned out me and the other women were both military bratts. So in our mind it was, this sucked, like, we’re all with you, but now we’ve gotta get beyond this and go to that next thing. And so that’s just a good example of how you do have to adapt all the time. It’s, you know, and so that is a gift that I use every day and every meeting because, you know, the, the world is changing so rapidly these days that you’re constantly in a mindset of just having to adapt. And I, I’m again grateful for my upbringing because I have that skillset.
General Joe Votel:
Yeah, mission mindset. That’s great. So you’re an extraordinarily successful executive who’s shattered some glass ceilings in your career. Can you tell us a little bit about your path to success? You know specifically how you became the first African-American woman in the c-suite of a major aviation company there. Talk about some of the obstacles that you faced along the way.
Yeah, yeah. Well, being a woman in a male-dominated industry, what are you talking about? Obstacles? What’s this? Obstacles you speak about, General? I don’t know what you’re talking about, <laugh>. And so, so my path is really, you know, as we talked about, I grew up a child of a soldier. My dad was in the Air Force, so I knew early on general that I wanted to be in aviation like that. I, from a little world, I knew that because I could hear planes taken off and landing, and we traveled all the time. And so it was just something that I, that I was that kid that knew exactly what I wanted to do. And so as soon as I could. Now, here’s the challenge though. When I was younger, though, I knew I wanted to be in aviation. The problem was that whenever I would see aviators depicted in film or TV or magazines or anything like that, I would always see if you were a man, you were a pilot, and if you were a woman, you were a flight attendant. But none of those pictures ever looked like me, right? And so, though I knew what I wanted to do, I honestly didn’t know what I could do because back in the day, I’d never seen a person of color depicted as an aviator. So, fast forward, my very first job, I, you know, parked planes and loaded luggage at the Boston Logan Airport, I started off on the ramp and loved that job, right? But then I would go upstairs to make extra money because, you know, I was broke, right? I was young, single and living my best life, but had no money <laugh>. So I would go upstairs and work at the ticket counter doing customer service, checking people in for their flights. And I remember one of our VPs pulled me aside, and I didn’t really know him that well, but he pulled me aside one day and he said, you know, Stephanie, every time I come through this airport, I see you smiling, serving customers. I think you should be in sales. And so I didn’t know what salespeople did, but I trusted this gentleman. If he saw something in me, then I should at least pursue it. Because up until that point, I was really going more the operations route, right? So I, for fast forward, I became a salesperson for one of the major us US airlines. And I was 25 years old. They gave me a quota of $25 million. I didn’t know what I was doing in sales, but I crushed the quota. Then I ended up getting promoted, would crush whatever they gave me there, get promoted again. And so I ended up being a sales leader for this company as well. And that particular job general had me on the road 270 days a year, which is ridiculous. And when I was young and single, it was fantastic. But at this point, now I’m married, I have a child. And so being gone 270 days a year just wasn’t feasible. And my priorities were way outta sync. So I ended up leaving that job and taking some time off to figure out what I wanted to do, because I loved aviation, but I just didn’t have a lifestyle that would allow me to be on the road that much anymore. And from there, I got recruited into private aviation. So I started off in the airlines doing the, you know, operation side, then moving into sales, then getting recruited by Bombardier into the private aviation space. And that’s where I’ve been for the last 20 years. So, you know sold charter, then oversaw teams that sold charter, and then became the president as you’d mentioned of JetSuite, and then became the Chief Growth Officer at Wheels Up. And so it’s been a really wonderful career. I’ve loved it. And the obstacles that I’ve learned along the way, I mean, it’s 15 minutes, right? So we don’t have that kind of time <laugh>. But, but what I will say is, one of the things that I always remember is when I first, one of the teams that I took over, and you know, as, especially, especially as a head of sales, you usually come in to take over a team and usually because something’s not quite working correctly. And so one team that I was brought in to take over when the CEO brought me in, he said, listen, I need you to come and fix this team. This team has never, could never hit their quota. And in the meantime, I was in another division and my team was like crushing it on the quota. So he says, whatever you’re doing over there, I need you to come over here and do it over here. And and so I, you know, as with probably all leaders, we tend to spend a little bit of time just observing the team before you start making any drastic changes. And what I found is that every single one of them were pilots. And a lot of them were military pilots or former military pilots. And and so they certainly had this amazing confidence and air about them. However, they, you know, I, I always say this is the perfect, ’cause what he was brought me in, he is like, okay, so, you know, you’ve been absorbing the team, what do you think? And I said, well, listen, if I needed somebody to shoot down something in the sky, this is the team for it, right? I said, however, since we’re trying to sell planes <laugh>, this isn’t the team. Because what would happen is because they were all pilots, they would, you know, talk to the customer who’s really a high net worth individual. So they come on a plane, you know as a pilot, you come on the plane and you turn left and you care about what’s going on on that side of the plane. Well, a customer gets on the plane turns right? They care less about what’s going on on that side. They really care about how many seats does this plane have, you know, those kind of things. So there was just a disconnect with the sales technique because our salespeople who were all pilots were really trying to sell. They would, they should have been selling to another pilot and not to the high net worth consumer who was sitting at the end. So I ended up having to change out and switch the entire team out. Uand then I will say that we did still hit our goal that year for the first time. So, wow. But I had a lot of resistance as I had to make all those changes, general.
General Joe Votel:
That’s good. No, I, I think that’s it. That’s a really important point about really drawing on unique skills here is that there maybe some, just ’cause you can fly an airplane doesn’t necessarily mean you can sell an airplane. And and everything else associated with there. It’s a, it’s a really, really interesting observation there. So I know you do a whole bunch of public speaking as well, Stephanie and you often talk with your audiences about sales psychology and the neuroscience of selling. So can you share with our members a little bit about creating a chemical reaction to the buyer’s mind drawn selling?
Yeah, absolutely. Would be delighted to. So my mentor, I always wanna give credit where credit is due. My mentor, her, she’s, she’s deceased now. She died of pancreatic cancer a few years ago, but her name was Judith E. Glazer. She has a wonderful book out there that I would highly encourage all the listeners to go. I check out, and it’s called Conversational Intelligence. And it’s really about CIQ, right? That’s what conversational intelligence is. It’s just another form of IQ. So of course we’ve got IQ, you know, so how smart are you? EQ, how self-aware are you? And CIQ, which is really about how do you hold a conversation such a way that you are able to prime your listeners’ brain for trust and partnership and mutual success. And so that’s really the premise of neuroscience selling. And whenever I’m working with salespeople or leaders in any of my speeches, I always incorporate a lot of that into it as well, because it’s really about the science of the conversation. When you think about what we as leaders do, we spend over 90% of our day in conversation, and yet statistically, we’re probably not always hitting the mark with our conversations. And so how you pull the neuroscience part of it in is just to understand that when you’re talking to someone, it’s not just me and you talk in general, but I’m also talking to your brain, right? Because your brain is the gatekeeper of everything. And it’s gonna decide if it’s gonna let me in or not let me in. Does it think I’m friend or does it think I’m full? Right? Your brain is constantly working. And so when you understand that, that side of the conversation, it changes how you have a conversation. So for an example, when we are having a, a conversation that’s built on trust, right? And, and this is important because how people will hear you is based on whether they trust you or not, right? They’re gonna hear with a certain perspective based on if they trust you or not. And so your goal as a communicator is to get that trust up as soon as you possibly can. And one of the easiest ways to do it is just to understand that what is going on in the brain from a chemical perspective when trust is actually being formulated? And so trust is being formulated in the prefrontal cortex, which we call the executive brain. ’cause That’s where our collaboration and strategic thinking and communication and you know, all of that is housed up there. But that’s also where trust is. And so when you’re having a conversation, and it’s a trustworthy conversation, right? The brain is creating a lot of different chemicals that work in our favor. So we’re feeling good about the conversation that we’re having because the dopamine’s kicking in, or the oxytocin’s kicking in, or the serotonin’s kicking in. And so all of those things matter. A lot of times when people are having a conversation general, they really think that a conversation is just you know, lateral, right? So I say something to you, say, you respond back to me. And they think it’s, you know, it shouldn’t be that simple. It’s not that simple. From a brain perspective, from a brain perspective, when a conversation is taking place, the brain’s trying to decipher, what did you say? What did I hear? What was your intention behind what you said? And are you, can I trust you? Right? So there’s a lot happening in the brain, and all kind of chemicals and neurotransmitters are transpiring, and that’s why the chemicals are being produced either on the good side or the bad side. So there’s a lot happening. And when you know that you just have a very different conversation. So for an example of, I’ll give your listeners a quick cheat sheet the brain tends to drop out of a conversation every 12 to 18 seconds. Therefore, usually when I speak, I tend to pause a little bit. And I’m not pausing for dramatic effect on stage. I might be right, but this conversation, I’m not. It’s more so, so that people’s brain can stay. You have never wanna leave your audience behind. Right?
General Joe Votel:
That’s fascinating. And you know, it’s, it’s interesting to me, how did two different people, you and I can look at a similar challenge and have a different approach to it. I had never thought about what I would just kind of describe as the science of, of this that you kind of pointed out. Because as a senior officer, what I often told people was that the skills that were most important to me were relationship building and communication. And the, the whole object of those two of those two things was really to build trust with the, with the parties that you were communicating to. Ultimately you wanted to, wanted to do that. But I really liked the, I really liked what you could just kind of said there, ’cause you actually provided some scientific basis to what I’ve always suspected is kind of being really important there. So that’s quite fascinating. So kind of moving along a little bit in your own as we kind of talked about, you know, service seems to be a bit of a family business. I know you’re very proud of your daughter, Brittany, who founded the Nonprofit Elevation Society to fight teenage suicide. Can you briefly tell us what inspired her to do that and how you kind of helped cultivate and support her passion serve others?
Absolutely. So I, first of all, my, my child, I love her so much. She’s such a great, great human being. Like I, you know, times you love it general. When you raise your kids, they, they <laugh> they go on and you’re like, yes. Yeah, you’re so proud of them on so many different levels. And so that’s what Britney is for me. She is definitely, she works for me now whenever I’m on the road speaking. So I get to travel with her a ton, and I just love being around her. She’s an amazing, amazing person. In regards to Elevation Society, how she started it is she, when she was in college, a friend of hers died by suicide. And up until that point, Brittany never even heard of the word suicide. Like she just didn’t know what it was. And so it took her you know, took her by, by surprise, and it certainly changed her life. And one of the things that was a pivotal part of it, that alone was a shock enough. But the friend had also sent Brittany an email for like a, just a, you know, thing via Facebook. Hey, you know, how are you, you know, think you’re great, looking forward to catching up soon and what blah, blah, blah, what we friends do. And Brittany, because she was so busy with studies and everything that was going on, she kept saying to herself, okay, I’ll call her later, or I’ll reach out to a leader. You know, that type of thing as we all do. And there would then later never ca you know, there, unfortunately, there wasn’t an opportunity for later. And so it had such an impact on her life. And so she started to really, she’s very intent. She’s a very intentional kid because of that, right? So if somebody’s on her mind, she calls ’em right away. It, you know, so she’s just very tentative like that. With that in mind, the reason why Elevation Society or any, any nonprofit that’s out there that’s trying to help is the number one killer of millennials is suicide. That’s pretty sad. And then when Brittany wanted to go on this venture, right, I did the same thing. You just asked me, like, okay, tell me how we got here is something I need to know, right? <Laugh>. And so when she shared her story about it, it’s like, okay, well good for you. Like, let’s do it. But, and so she’s been, she’s been really, the whole purpose of Elevation Society is just to get millennials together. Because the thought process is that, you know, listen, we’re all, we’re all designed for human connection, right? The healthiest relationships are when you have a human connection. And a lot of times people, when they’re either suffering from depression or things of that nature, they don’t have that human connection, and then that starts the spiral, right? Unless there’s some type of chemical imbalance. But there, the, the association is really all about pulling them together, having a safe place that you can talk about things and more importantly, do things and serve other people. Because then it’s not so much about you, it’s really about how do you give back to others. You know, one of the things that we don’t talk a lot about, ’cause I know you and I have a passion in regards to younger people and millennials and, you know how do you recruit them and, and so on and so forth is there’s, there’s, first of all, I wrote an article many years ago and I was surprised how much traction this article got. And it was me defending millennials, <laugh>, because we know millennials tend to get a bad rap. And you know, they’re almost 40 now, so they’re really kind of grown up. But, but when you think about who they are, the fact is that we, our generations are the ones that created them. And so any gripes that we may have with them, really we need to look at ourselves in the mirror, right? And so I think about millennials in the sense of, you know, people may say, oh, well, you know, you can’t keep their attention. Well, let’s think about that. Mom and dad, didn’t we have them in soccer and sports? And we had these kids scheduled, right? They were like every minute of the day, they were in dance, they were in football, they were in soccer, and they were, you know, we had them, them scheduled. So that’s one thing. They were also latchkey kids, most of them because both parents were working if they had a two-parent household. So now these kids are pretty self-sufficient. They watched mom and dad fight and argue over money and they never went on vacation. So these kids are like, you know what, you keep the money and I’m always on vacation. Right? You know, so everything that we have a problem with about the millennials are really self-inflicted things that we can actually say we helped to contribute to. And so I think that they get a bad rap and I, I actually think that, you know, maybe they have it right and we have it wrong. So what they spent, they got three weeks vacation, they’re taking those three weeks good for them, right? We just didn’t grow up that way. You wouldn’t even think to take three weeks vacation. Right? Really three days.
General Joe Votel:
Exactly. And I, I’m so glad you went in that direction and talk about young people. I wanted to ask you about that, but you kind of answered it there. I mean, I, I’m with you. I, I absolutely agree that the young, younger generations, I mean, these are really super talented, smart, dedicated people. They think a little, they think differently than certainly than I do, or you do, or others of other generations do. But but that doesn’t mean their commitment or their concern or other things is any, any less important than anybody else’s. And I just really can’t say bad things about young people around me. ’cause I’ve just had my, my opportunity in the military to see them. It’s just been so overwhelmingly positive. So I’m really, I’m really glad you you, you venture into that. And again, this, this this idea that your daughter is working on is extraordinarily important. Again, dealing with suicides in the military and stuff like that, this is a, this is a big, this is a big deal. And it, it is about connection. It’s about getting in the way of something, whether that’s through asking a question or, you know, confronting somebody or being there or making a call or something like that. It’s a, it’s amazing how little touch points like that can really, can really change something. So, so I understand you’re writing a book. I wonder if you can share a little bit about what inspired you to do that and what you hope others will take away from that.
Well, it’s so funny that you mentioned the book. I feel like, are you a spy for my speakers bureau? ’cause They’re hounding me about this book <laugh>. So I’m gonna answer it two ways. The first one is the book that they want me to write. I have a publisher already to go, I have a literary agent. Everyone’s like, where’s the plot? It’s about leadership, right? <Laugh>. But what I will tell you, I’ve kind of pivoted from that because what is really on my heart right now is, is less about leadership. Like I love leadership and I will absolutely write a leadership book. But right now, in this season of where we are today in the world, I’m very, very passionate about, about women issues and specifically the pay gap. You know, if we look at the latest statistics, the women are still making 80 cents per the dollar versus men, I should say. And that statistic hasn’t changed over 20 years, though we’ve been talking about it all the time to exhaustion. So that’s issue number one. Issue number two is based on the right, the rate that we’re going, they say it’s gonna take us 132 years to get the pays equal. That’s ridiculous. Right? And then if you look at the women from an international perspective, the statistics say, it’s gonna take 300 years to get equal pay. I just can’t imagine living with that. So I am really, really focused on this particular book is all about, it’s not just for females ’cause it’s actually for females and allies and those of us who are raising kids because we really have to change the narrative from a, a younger perspective, but also from a female perspective. You know, I wanna help ladies know how to get to the top it. Even if you don’t have a mentor or a sponsor or an ally, you can still get there. So I wanna be able to walk ’em through how to do that. And then if you’re an ally and let’s say you’re a man, then a lot of men want to be an ally, but perhaps they don’t know exactly how to do it. But I also wanna call people out because if you say that you’re an ally and you have nothing to back it up other than just you saying it, those days are dead. You’re gonna have to present some proof, right? And we don’t need just people saying that they’re allies. We really need activists out there that are gonna help join this cause because if we can put a man on the moon, we can certainly make sure that women who are getting doing the same job have the same experience, should get paid the same period. Don’t get down the soapbox, general <laugh>.
General Joe Votel:
It’s great. I look forward to,look forward to seeing that Stephanie, I read a book a couple years ago, it was actually incidentally by a couple of Naval Academy graduates that talked,made the case for why men should mentor women. Uand it was, it was a fascinating study there and it made me think about,you know, things that I was doing. I was still in uniform at the time and the, you know, the roles that I was playing and how I needed to make sure I was reaching out to everybody that,was in my, was in my sphere of influence in our song. Yeah, that’s,that’s really interesting. So I always try to end our podcast by asking our guests why they, why they joined BENS and why they believe that,national security is everybody’s business. I wonder if you could take a few of us to just kind of reflect on that for us.
Absolutely. First of all, national security is everybody’s business. And the way that I look at it, I’m honored to be a part of BENS. When I got the call, I remember saying to the person who called me, I was like, do you have the right Stephanie Chung <laugh>? And so, you know, I could not be more delighted that things that I’m learning or just mind blowing, right? But in regards to national security being everybody’s business, the way that I really look at it is if you live in a neighborhood, right? And let’s say you, you know, you’ve worked hard, you’ve bought a home, you are you know, you love your neighbors, you all look out for each other, you’re expecting a certain humanity, right? We are each other’s brothers and keepers. And so if I live in a neighborhood and my neighbor sees someone trying to break into my house, I’m expecting that you’re gonna call me or call the police or you know, take a picture so he can, you know, submit it to the police later. Do you do something right? I’m expecting you to do something. We’re all community. Well, the way that I look at national security is kind of along those lines. Our national security folks, CIA, Homeland Security military, what, you know, any other groups, it’s, we, our country is one big house in one big neighborhood. And they, what they are doing is they’re making sure that nobody breaks in, nobody harms us, nobody does anything that they mean for bad. It’s the same thing on that, that we all do on local levels, hopefully for our own communities. But what we don’t think about is we, we don’t think of ourselves as a country, as one big community. There are people out there doing the same exact thing that we do in our little sphere that do it on a bigger level. Therefore it is everybody’s business, right? We are each other’s keeper. And so I love what our men and women are doing out there every day. And most of it, they’ll never get the credit because, you know, a lot of stuff we don’t necessarily know and have access to, but everybody should be concerned because it, if we all either win or we all either lose, right? We’re all in this together. So it’s everybody’s business. I could not be more delighted to be part of BENS. And again, the stuff that I’m learning is I wouldn’t, I would be able to go to college and learn this stuff. <Laugh>.
General Joe Votel:
Good. Yeah, we could award college credit for the things we’re doing there with Stephanie. It’s been it’s been wonderful to spend some time with this morning. Thank you so much for joining us and again, we are so excited to have you as a, as a member of BENS here. So thanks, thanks so much for, for joining us. Really appreciate it.
Thank you, General, thank you so much. Thanks for having me. This was a delight. Thank you.
General Joe Votel:
And thanks everybody for listening. Our guest today has been Stephanie Chung, a Dallas member here, and we look forward to coming to you soon with more editions of the Five Questions with the CEO podcast. Thanks everybody.
Episode 21: Jeremy Hitchcock
In Episode 21 of “5 Questions with the CEO,” General Joe Votel talks with the wildly successful start-up genius, Jeremy Hitchcock, BENS member, and co-founder and Partner at New North…
Episode 20: Adam Leslie
Tune in to Episode 20 as General Votel talks with BENS member Adam Leslie about being a UH-1 helicopter gunship pilot and intel officer in the Australian Army, and his…