Top Female CEOs of the 2012 Inc. 500

Courtesy Company
5 of 11

Denise Wilson, Founder and CEO

Desert Jet
Thermal, Calif.

No. 72
2011 Revenue: $5 million
Three-Year Growth: 3,751%

Denise Wilson’s company, which ranked No. 296 on 2011’s Inc. 5000 list, offers private jet travel services. Initially an airline pilot, Wilson got into corporate and business aviation post-9/11. After seeing what other businesses were doing wrong, Wilson started Desert Jet in 2007 with two other pilots. In the beginning it wasn't unusual if she flew 20 flights a week. She's since been able to cut that down to two, because she's recruited eight other pilots. "We enable our clients to do great things," Wilson says.