“It’s that rock-solid resilience, that extra drive, and a dedication to staying on the path you have determined that will get you ahead of others” with Joshua Hebert CEO of Magellan Jets

It’s grit that matters most. It’s that rock-solid resilience, that extra drive, and a dedication to staying on the path you have determined that will get you ahead of others. And it’s important to trust your instincts and your gut. Many of us make decisions based on data, which is important, but your gut instinct […]

It’s grit that matters most. It’s that rock-solid resilience, that extra drive, and a dedication to staying on the path you have determined that will get you ahead of others. And it’s important to trust your instincts and your gut. Many of us make decisions based on data, which is important, but your gut instinct is almost never wrong.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Joshua Hebert, Founder and C.E.O of Magellan Jets. Hebert founded Magellan Jets in 2008 with 25 years of experience in finance, marketing, and aviation. His expertise in business start-ups, transformations, search engine optimization, and marketing has enabled him to grow Magellan Jets into the brand it is today. In founding Magellan Jets, Hebert melded his passion for aviation with his knowledge and financial savvy, which he gleaned from starting his career on Wall Street at Paine Webber and Shearson Lehman Brothers. Hebert went from the investment banking world to the advertising world where he led the marketing team to increased success at America City Business Journals. He then started in the aviation business in 2000, when he founded Jets International and paved the way to customer success and revenue in operations. As Founder and CEO of Magellan Jets, Hebert is the visionary behind an incredibly successful team that the executive leaders have diligently crafted over the past decade. Hebert’s expertise in business start-ups and transformations, combined with his extensive track record in growing businesses through creative new solutions, has culminated a team that has increased sales at Magellan Jets by 35% a year for almost a decade. Magellan has been recognized for its growing success several years in a row on Boston Business Journal’s Pacesetters (now Fast 50) list, as one of SmartCEO’s Future 50 and on the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Making the list for an unprecedented 6th time, Magellan Jets find themselves in elite company. Not only does that put them in the Inc Hall of Fame, but only 193 of the 5000 companies on the 2018 list have made it 6 times, which is roughly 3%. Hebert currently serves as Chairman on the Magellan Jets board, the Vice Chairman of the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF), and as Founding Chair of the Alumni Advisory Board for Raising a Reader Massachusetts. He is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and has been a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year. He is quoted in Barron’s, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Business Week, and The Economist among other major publications; and has contributed articles to Fortune.

Thank you for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

In high school and college, I had a car detailing business and was successful enough to put myself through school. I moved to New York City and through a job as a bank teller I learned that there was a lot of money in stocks, so I decided to try it out. I was hired by a company called Sans Brothers, where I learned my way around Wall Street. I was recruited to larger firms before I made a decision during the Dot Com boom to switch to advertising, where I led the marketing team to increased success at America City Business Journals.

In 2000, I started learning about everything I could about private aviation and co-founded Jets International, where I fell in love with private aviation. In founding Magellan Jets, I was able to meld my passion for aviation with my knowledge of the financial world, which I gleaned from starting my career on Wall Street.

If I were to give any advice in picking an industry, it would be to look at what’s up-and-coming, jump in and work smart and hard. And if you want to succeed in anything, make sure you’re doing more than the person next to you. There’s always going to be someone smarter than you, but work ethic always wins in the end.

Can you share your story of Grit and Success? Did you face any challenges when you first started your journey?

It’s grit that matters most. It’s that rock-solid resilience, that extra drive, and a dedication to staying on the path you have determined that will get you ahead of others. And it’s important to trust your instincts and your gut. Many of us make decisions based on data, which is important, but your gut instinct is almost never wrong.

As far as success goes, I think you get comfortable with taking risks. Starting a company in 2008 and seeing our peers, the companies in our space, shrinking when we wanted to grow was scary. But it was obviously worth the risk. Life changes far more frequently and unpredictably than we think, and it’s important to be adaptable. It’s good for growth. New obstacles, while often viewed in a negative light, are good for growth, too. To quote Thomas Paine: “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were hard?

I grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts as a city kid in a blue collar family. The organization Big Brothers/Big Sisters was instrumental in my life. My “big brother” showed me things that I might have never otherwise seen in my life — New York City, 13 different countries in Europe, his dads’ offices in a Fortune 500 company where he was the CEO, 20 million-dollar homes in Greenwich. This all sounds common, but to a city kid that never left Worcester, it was inspiring. I think I always had the drive (I took my crib apart when I was 9 months old!) but that program definitely fostered it and showed me how to use it.

So, how are things going today? How did Grit lead to your eventual success?

Grit was a direct result of the adversity I faced early in life. I have dyslexia, so school was very challenging for me. Reading and comprehension were my downfall. I was tested at Children’s Hospital and having dyslexia but with high IQ helped me to understand that I had a learning disability but at the same time I was still very smart. I don’t think I had a teacher who was confident that I would graduate from middle school, let alone college. But my grandmother sat with me for an hour every weekend and made me read out loud. At the time I thought it was punishment, but I always respected her. Of course, now I know that she was a fabulous demonstration to me of grit and persistence.

Grit comes from having a purpose and caring deeply about something. I was married with 2 daughters and a career by the age of 22. I graduated college and started my life on Wall Street, and at that point, that was all I knew. I was in the office at 7:00 a.m. six days a week, and never left before 9:00 p.m. except for Saturday.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?

My funniest, or maybe most humbling, experience was probably hiring people and having to tell them, “I can pay you someday, but I’m not sure what day.” Also, I learned that accepting “free” help, trying to cut corners, or not investing appropriately in your help is more work than it’s worth. (Sorry, dad!) It’s a bit embarrassing to think about.

I learned an embarrassing lesson about first impressions early on, too. During my first year on Wall Street, I went to see a customer in his big, beautiful office. I was extremely impressed. He was polite and kind, listened to my entire pitch, asked a lot of great questions, and at the end of the meeting when I was walking out, he shook my hand and said, “Don’t ever chew gum in a meeting. Joshua I think you’re a great guy but out of principle, I won’t do business with you,” and he shut the door. My heart dropped, but in some ways I feel like that’s where the learning began. It seems like a small thing, but I learned a lot from that experience.

What do you think makes your company stand out?

At Magellan Jets, confidence and efficiency matter. Our clients demand a certain level of performance — perfection. We pride ourselves on getting it right. And private aviation is not just a luxury, it’s an efficiency. For business and leisure travel alike, Magellan Jets exceeds expectations by harnessing and elevating every available efficiency the private aviation marketplace has to offer, and we truly make it a custom experience for our clients.

Every flight booked through Magellan Jets is carefully curated — from the logistics of orchestrating aircraft movement and crew preparation, to the coordination of numerous rigorous pre-trip checks, to the personalization of in-flight amenities and ground transportation arrangements upon arrival. We handle every part of the process, and we are really proud of our personal interaction with customers and we value the trust they put in us.

Do you have any advice for your colleagues that might help them thrive and prevent “burnout”?

I think I’d tell them to learn to enjoy the journey. If you aren’t enjoying it, why are you doing it? But most importantly, if you aren’t enjoying it, there’s a good chance you won’t succeed. Try to find the true enjoyment in the little things and in the big things. And it’s about perspective, too. The challenges and obstacles we face aren’t necessarily negatives. If we begin to view those obstacles or failures as a necessary part of the journey, we can accept them more easily.

None of us is able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who helped get you to where you are?

Anthony Tivnan, my business partner and cousin, has overcome much more adversity in life than most. His confidence, positive attitude, and his ability to focus on the present moment inspires me and many others. Also, my dad was always there for me and never judged me, he always gave good advice and never his opinion. And my daughters have always supported my decisions and shown the upmost respect to me and others, which was a life long experience at a young age; they just told me that “dad, if you want respect you need to give respect.”

How have you used your success to give back?

I strongly believe in paying it forward. While we are working individually to improve ourselves, as we should, we also need to work together as a community to make the future better for our businesses and families, and for those coming behind us. I currently serve as Chairman on the Magellan Jets board, Chairman of the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF), and as Founding Chair of the Alumni Advisory Board for Raising a Reader in Massachusetts. I’m a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and have been a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year. I want to do what I can to pay it forward and inspire others, and working with young people inspires challenges me; it gives me hope for our future.

What are some things you wish someone told you before you started leading your company?

There’s so much here that I don’t even know where to begin. But over the years I’ve learned that personality and learning styles matter, as does mentorship. I don’t agree with the statement, “Fire fast, hire slow.” When your kid misbehaves, you don’t just give him or her to the neighbor. You help them become a better person, you have to teach. With adults, you need to do the same thing, and knowing how they learn and what gives them a sense of fulfillment is powerful.

In addition to learning styles, I love the Enneagram Institute RHETI assessment tool. RHETI helps us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can help us learn about ourselves. Not all people are the same and how you can help them — or how they might help you — differs with each person.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would love to see a positivity movement that shifts people’s mindsets. Being kind can really change people’s perspectives. When I walk around Boston or any other city, I’m saying hi to people walking by. When I’m in restaurants, I meet people sitting next to me. I’m not doing it for any other reason other than to make people feel happy and comfortable, and I hope they will do the same for others. Often when I say hello to strangers, people think I’m crazy — and I’m ok with that. When I meet people in my networking groups, such as YPO, or in the aviation industry, I don’t often research them before I meet them; I like to be open and honest and ask them to tell me about themselves. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I like a good old honest conversation and kindness, and I think the world could use more of that.

But even more importantly, I believe health and happiness is so much more important than money. I would love to see a movement where the focus was on people being kind to one another and feeling comfortable saying hello to each other. I want more people to open doors for each other, offer their seat to an elderly person on the train and to be cognizant of each other and empathetic toward each other. What goes around comes around, and, ultimately, being kind to each other makes the world a better place.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

We love LinkedIn, but we’re on all of the social networks. Just search for Magellan Jets and you’ll find us. Or to learn more about us, visit our website at

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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About the author:

Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.

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