Name: Laurinda Rainey
Title: Managing director and general manager, United Airlines Co brand Cards
Company, city: Chase; Wilmington, Delaware
First job: It’s a funny story, because my parents did not want me to have a job while in high school, so I intentionally took an Art of Work class so I had to get a job. My class schedule left me with afternoons free, so I worked half days at Walmart in the electronics department.
Where to next: I’m taking my 8-month-old daughter to Arkansas to meet family she hasn’t yet met!
A LITTLE BIT MORE
What actor or actress would play you in a movie of your life?
While I can’t pinpoint an actress I think looks like me, I love Viola Davis and the way she dives into roles.
What would you be doing professionally if you weren’t in your current industry?
I’d be a psychologist or life coach. I love people and come from a big family — I’m the youngest of 16, and my grandmother’s 92nd grandchild — so I’m able to find something in common with almost anyone. However, I might be too much of an empath for that profession.
What is your favorite book, movie or television show?
Game of Thrones, minus Season Eight! I love good character development and think a hallmark of quality television is the buildup.
What historical figure, dead or alive, would you love to have dinner with?
Martin Luther King, Jr. was my childhood hero. When I was 5, another classmate spit in my face and used a racial slur. After the incident, my parents taught me about King, Jr., and he always inspired me. I’d like to meet him at this time in history to get his perspective on how best to move forward.
What is your most recent project, and what was the inspiration behind it?
The launch of the Chase United Quest Card exceeded expectations. The card’s debut coincided with vaccine deployment and travel’s return, and we used our marketing to capture the feeling of wanderlust while still being sensitive to the state of the industry.
What is your favorite aspect of the job?
Team leadership allows me to bring people together to help other people experience new places.
What’s the biggest business risk you’ve ever taken?
I’d describe myself as risk-averse; my friends would say I take a lot of calculated risks. This may not be a risk in a traditional sense, but within my first month in this role, United Airlines approached me about assisting with its Aviate flight school. It did not fall within my job description, and it could have been a risk as far as time and outreach, but it was worth it as Chase created a scholarship program, with United matching our contribution, to help not only train but also diversify the future pilot pool.
Who is someone you admire professionally in the travel industry?
Brian Kelly, founder, The Points Guy, as he changed the way travelers engage with loyalty programs.
AS A TRAVELER
Tell us about a travel nightmare: I don’t really consider this a nightmare, but I stopped taking road trips after participating in a family caravan in two 15-passenger vans from Arkansas to Washington, D.C., for a family reunion. The youngest on the trip was a toddler, the oldest were in their 50s, and we had every decade covered in between across the two vans. There are many funny stories from that trip, but, in the end, I realized I prefer to get to my destinations a lot faster.
Share a comical travel experience: The majority of my travel has been positive!
What is your preferred method of travel — planes, trains, automobiles, cruise ships — and why? Definitely planes, and United ones, at that! But I also love travel by electric car.
What has been the best example of customer service you’ve experienced during your travels? On a business trip, I experienced several delays; and when I got into my hotel room, I found a spread of chocolate, fruits and more — all put out because the hotel knew I’d had a long travel day.
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