Two alumnae join forces to lead a global luggage shipping company
The newly minted CEOs talk in-depth about how their MBAs provided them with the knowledge and relationship to work together to acquire and build an existing brand.
As a Zell Fellow, I received hands-on mentorship and learned the ins and outs of entrepreneurship even before I graduated which was an incredible experience! Beyond learning basic business tactics, I’ve found that the life skills I discovered from my time at Kellogg are really what elevates my leadership thinking.
Kellogg provides the space and time to reflect and develop our own skills as leaders. The program makes it easy to identify personal strengths and weaknesses in order to grow into a strong manager even before entering the workforce. Having a solid foundation and understanding of my motivators and limitations, as well as how they show up in my values and actions, has completely changed the way I approach leadership. It’s also why Audrey and I work so well together as co-CEOs — we recognize our individual strengths yet have similar values that allow us to complement each other’s work.
How did you come across Luggage Forward and what are some lessons learned from your experiences in Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA)?
ETA is an incredibly rewarding and unique journey where you can find a company; an industry; a team and investors whose approach and goals align with your own and sets you up for success as a first-time CEO.
Once you are all in on ETA, embrace the journey, be curious and be open to surprises along the way. Your skill set, background and interests may lead you somewhere you never knew existed. That was our journey. We are still learning every day, but I’m so excited about what lies ahead.
What are your aspirations for Luggage Forward as you begin as co-CEOs?
The basic mission of the company is to provide convenience and reliability for our client’s travel. Building and strengthening partnerships with leading travel providers is a big focus of mine.
Longer term, Luggage Forward is a market leader in the global luggage shipping space. We are excited to continue to innovate in our industry with new technology and service offerings for our partners and clients.
JP: The industry is defined by people who want to share the joy of travel, and we are all working together to provide the traveler the best possible experience. Moreover, we are already shipping all over the world and I love inspiring travelers to enjoy unique experiences. This process lets us tap into our creativity and solve new challenges while working with diverse people and cultures.
In addition, support of these travelers also means new jobs in local communities which is extremely rewarding. Bringing on new inbound tour operators to help plan authentic travel experiences for our clients is one of our favorite parts of the job so far.
Any advice for business professionals considering an MBA and Kellogg in particular?
JP: Spend time learning about and reflecting on different paths that are out there. It’s okay to scout out options and decide what works best for you. You’ll never have a better time set aside to ask questions and learn about new opportunities. Take advantage of the school’s network and all of the diverse experiences they have to offer!
AK: I loved my time in the classroom, but the Kellogg community opened doors and exposed us to even greater opportunities after school. Jessica and I had wonderful support from the Kellogg community in setting up our initial searches and in ultimately acquiring Luggage Forward. And we might even have gained a few new Luggage Forward clients along the way!