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Up Close | Carolyn Fennell of Greater Orlando Aviation Authority

 Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Director of Public Affairs

 

Transportation has always been one of the most important economic drivers in any economy. For Central Florida, the most significant transportation nexus is Orlando International Airport. Carolyn M. Fennell, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority’s director of public affairs, went from working the international news desk with ABC in London, to being a publicist at Walt Disney World, to watching OIA grow from 6 million passengers a year, processing travelers in a renovated Quonset hut, to the 35 million currently coming through, what Carolyn believes, “is one of the world’s greatest airports.”     

THE MOST REWARDING OPPORTUNITY AND CHALLENGE:

The fortunate position I have is to work with an organization that is at the epicenter of the dynamic growth and development that has occurred in this community over the last few decades.  The globalization of the Central Florida region starts with access and I was involved with the initial international marketing efforts that, with community support, produced our busiest international carriers. As spokesperson for both Orlando International and Orlando Executive Airport, I am engaged in strategic messaging, crisis management, and communicating Board policy and airport operation activities to the media and public. As vice chairman of the airport’s design review committee, I assist with reviewing construction projects that directly impact the passengers’ “Orlando Experience.”

TRANSPORTATION IS THE FULCRUM THE ECONOMY PIVOTS ON, YET SOME PEOPLE DON’T GRASP IT:

I am always surprised when people say, “I don’t travel so I don’t see how the airport impacts me.” Our response is that it connects the important elements of your life, whether the delivery of food, particularly perishable, communications as in mail, and the overnight packages ordered online or on QVC that mostly arrive by air. In other words, air travel connects people and goods nationally and globally seven days a week.

ON SERVING ON CULTURAL, EDUCATIONAL AND CIVIC BOARDS:

Serving on cultural boards has been rewarding in helping to showcase, at the airport and elsewhere, the excellence in cultural talent and experiences available which enhance the view of the quality of life in our community. Educational boards provide opportunities to contribute and mentor future leaders. Currently, the most timely and meaningful is my service as a director on the Federal Reserve Bank Board of Atlanta, Jacksonville Branch. As the 2013 chair, it was incredible and rewarding to observe the challenges of our economic situation and the impact of decisions that were made both locally and nationally in a highly fluid fiscal time in our history.

PRINCIPLES YOUNG PEOPLE SHOULD UNDERSTAND:

There is no overnight or instant success, but life is a series of learning opportunities and accomplishments. Life is a journey of taking risks, hard work and believing in yourself and your abilities. Everyone will not support you, but loyalty and respect go a long way in reaching your goal. And finally, you only fail if you don’t try. u

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