journey into the air freight industry was somewhat less direct
than Sanders, but, she, too, has found the business to be very,
very good to her.
Ward’s story starts when her kids were in college and she decided that she should move to a place where snow shovels were an uncommon sight. Her real estate and business management skills, developed over years in
finance, helped her re-invent herself as a business consultant.
“One day a gentleman came to me who had been in the
trucking industry, and he wanted to set up an air freight for-
warding company. But he didn’t have enough money. Ulti-
mately I ended up investing money in the business myself,”
Ward explains. “I just found it fascinating. I’ve always loved
to travel and I just got hooked on it.”
After a couple of years this gentleman wanted more of a
9-5 job so Ward bought him out of the business. But it was
her involvement with a local women’s business group that
allowed her to transform her cargo company into its unique
“I hadn’t been involved in the business for long when the
need to service shippers in Hawaii became obvious. It took a
bit of time to overcome the cultural differences that surfaced
once actually working in Hawaii. Hiring locals early on defi-
nitely helped,” she recalls. In the early days of the business
she found herself doing whatever it took as manager, sales-
person, and operations director—however, it all paid big divi-
dends and the business took off.
If you aren’t strong on the financial end of your business passion, my advice is, get someone to assist you.
niche. “I met a woman who was a florist. She was lamenting
her difficulties getting flowers out of Hawaii. She asked me to
go to Hawaii and talk to her suppliers and see what I could
do to help her.”
Ward was enthralled by the business, and ultimately ended
up running charter aircraft flights once a week out of Hawaii
to get flowers and produce. “We were using leased aircraft
on the weekend. I was sharing this aircraft with a company
that was shipping freight to Hawaii during the week. It was
unique for its time,” she says. But it soon became apparent
that it was worth expanding.
it worked, mostly because the customers told me what they
wanted and what worked. By leaving LAX at 2:00 a.m. and
arriving Honolulu at 6:00 a.m. it really worked for our cus-
tomers. And we were able to help DHL and the like offer over-
night services for packages from the East Coast, too.”
In 1998, Ward sold her interest in this successful, profitable
business and set off to enjoy what would turn out to be a very
short lived retirement. The company that purchased her busi-
ness did not carry on well, and it failed. Her former custom-
ers and some of her previous staff convinced Ward to go back
into business, this time, on her own.