Desert Jet Founder Takes Flight With Her Own Business

Women in Business awards Denise Wilson for entrepreneurial achievement

(Second from left) Denise Wilson is joined at a Women in Business kickoff event at Leeds & Son Fine Jewelers in Palm Desert by her husband, Rob (left), Steve Sanchez and Kate Spates.

Photo by Pat Krause


When Denise Wilson says she has to learn something on the fly, she means it.

As CEO and founder of Desert Jet in Thermal, Wilson says one of her biggest challenges was learning the logistics of running her own business.

But she found a way to overcome the barriers.

"I had no business experience and had no idea what I was doing," she says, laughing as she looks back on the company's start in 2007.

"As far as the aviation expertise, I had that, but I had never run a business before," she adds. "So it was things like starting my own LLC, learning QuickBooks and do the accounting, marketing, customer service and doing our website  - all those things I had to learn on the fly to get the business up and running."


VIDEO: Hear from Denise Wilson on what piece of advice she has for aspiring women entrepreneurs.


Wilson is one of three women who will be recognized May 21 at the second annual Women in Business Awards at the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage presented by Palm Springs Life, and sponsored by Cambria and Leeds & Son Fine Jewelers. Charissa Farley will receive the Corporate Leader award while Lisa Vossler Smith has been chosen the Business Leader in the Community. Mariel Hemingway is the guest speaker.

If there were moments of doubt, all Wilson had to do was pull out her oboe. A professional oboe player prior to taking flight with her own business, Wilson learned about rejection and how to respond.

"Day after day of rejection playing the oboe, you learn just to be positive, there is a next audition, you have to have that attitude," Wilson says. "One failure doesn't decimate you. The failures actually teach you what you need to know to be successful the next time."

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