René Banglesdorf is the CEO of Charlie Bravo Aviation, a company that buys, sells and leases private jets and helicopters worldwide. René serves on the board of the International Aviation Women’s Association as Industry VP for General Aviation and Helicopters.
What do you do best?
I’m really good at picking a problem apart, analyzing it, overcoming objections and finding a way to make my desired outcome happen. It comes in most handy in negotiating multimillion-dollar aircraft contracts with people from different cultures and styles of business leadership. Did I mention the big egos and high-paid attorneys involved?
What makes you the best?
I do my best to address things immediately. I like challenges and face them head on. I can focus on details without losing sight of the big picture. I’m a really good communicator, which makes me good at negotiations and marketing.
What are your aspirations?
My personal and business aspirations are tied together, which makes them easier to accomplish on one-hand and complicates the work, home balance on the other hand. I really want to help women at every age and in every walk of life succeed. Specifically, for work, I’d like a change in the statistic that says only 4-6% of aviation executives are women. I would like to have more women as clients—most women see private aviation as a luxury they can do without instead of seeing it as a competitive differentiator, one that would improve profitability and quality of life for their leadership team.
This year, I accepted the challenge of finishing the undergrad degree that I abandoned when I left school to get married and start my family 25 years ago. I needed 20 academic hours to fulfill the requirements to finish the journalism degree I was seeking when I first started school. I decided to do it all at once—take 20 hours while still running my company, one that provides plenty of stress on its own. Thankfully, I was able to take online courses, write a book and design an online course to support the book content to make up the 20 hours. It was the most demanding semester of my life! I earned the degree in the spring, published the book, “Crushing Mediocrity”, in the summer and finally launched the course with my co-author this fall.
Most Challenging Moment?
The most challenging thing I’ve faced is probably growing into the role of CEO of Charlie Bravo Aviation. I started the venture with my husband in more of a support role, and was forced into the leadership role when we decided to certify the company as woman-owned. The transition, without any management or sales training, into managing a sales organization was uncomfortable to say the least. My peers recognized me as an industry leader long before my co-workers did. It’s not a time I’d ever choose to repeat, but the difficulties shaped me into the tough business leader I am today.
I don’t really have one of my own, but I strongly believe the words of 19th century poet Matthew Arnold: “If there ever comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known.”
Favorite People/Role Models?
There are a few women I’ve met personally whose success, grace, compassion and generosity speaks volumes about their leadership without them ever having to open their mouths. When I grow up, I’d like to share those characteristics with Ruth Ryan (wife of Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan), first lady Laura Bush, Ambassador Barbara Barrett and best-selling author Sharon Lechter.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit all sorts of places around the world in my career, and my favorite place by far is home in Austin, Texas. However, my favorite vacation spot is a resort called Thornybush on the outskirts of Kruger National Park in South Africa. I saw all five of the Big Five animals (lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, elephant and rhino) in one day on safari there.
I’m a big fan of Apple products, Bluetooth technology and anything that makes me look younger. I’m also a little bit fanatic about Christian Louboutin shoes. In fact, I put a photo of the red-bottomed heels on the cover of my book in hopes of working out a deal to wear them without paying for them. Christian…? Anyone…?
I’m pretty crazy about my family. Besides my somewhat crazy family, I’m passionate about helping people crush mediocrity and rise above the status quo, hence the book to start the conversation. And, yes, I believe crushing mediocrity does mean flying privately! Private aviation is definitely not just a job!