Jindal School Alumna Named “Women in Business” Honoree

Mitzi Chamakala Chollampel

Mitzi Chamakala Chollampel

Mitzi Chamakala Chollampel will receive one of the 2017 Dallas Business Journal’s Women in Business Awards on Aug. 22, specifically for her work in the tourism industry. The annual awards celebrate influential women throughout North Texas who make a difference in business and in their communities. It is the second year the awards have included the Women in Tourism category.

Chollampel, 39, is the senior manager for international marketing and public relations at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. She earned her MBA from the Naveen Jindal School of Management in 2004 after graduating from The University of Texas Austin in 2000 with a BBA in marketing.

Between Austin and Dallas, Chollampel went to Cincinnati to work for Proctor & Gamble, where she was an associate manager leading consumer research strategy for brands such as Tide laundry detergent, Gain laundry detergent and Bounce dryer sheets.

With MBA in hand, she moved to California, where her fiancé was living. Once married, they chose to return to her Texas roots a few years later.

“It was my dad who actually saw the job posting for a marketing position with DFW Airport,” Chollampel says. Her father had served as a consultant to airport executives several years earlier and was familiar with the organization.

“When you think of marketing, you think of Frito-Lay, Pepsi, Dell — more traditional companies that have strong consumer brand awareness. I never thought of the airport as an entity that required marketing. I looked at it like most travelers — more like a utility, similar to the water department, that you just use. You park, you eat and you fly. But there is so much that goes on behind the scenes,” she says.

Her first job at the airport was as a trade marketing manager; a position she held from 2008 to 2015.

Then two years ago, the airport reorganized and started a new department that incorporated all international marketing and public relations. The vision was to continue the relaunch of the airport’s new brand abroad and help position DFW as a destination for international travelers, Chollampel says, promoting air service through or to DFW Airport as the best option when it came to international travel.

“We are promoting DFW as the premier gateway to America for international travelers,” she says.

“The airport’s growth is in international,” she says. “DFW serves 56 international cities through 27 passenger airlines. American Airlines comprises about 80 percent of the business, and the other 20 percent is made up of airlines such as Japan Airlines, Qantas, Interjet and Emirates.”

Chollampel says she works closely with Visit Dallas, the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and the Dallas Regional Chamber to encourage tourism and business partnerships.

Sharon McCloskey, vice president of marketing for DFW International Airport, says, “Mitzi’s position is challenging in that it requires energy and passion around international growth, but it also requires working closely with outside organizations to promote that growth. We hired Mitzi because she demonstrated the necessary enthusiasm, cultural awareness and the ability to work with organizations outside of DFW.”

Chollampel’s boss, John Ackerman, executive vice president of global strategy and development, agrees. “Mitzi is a talented and creative leader with a laser focus on execution. She gets things done, and in the end, that’s what counts. She is a great leader because she listens and isn’t afraid try new things. Our business is changing rapidly, and she has the mental agility to stay ahead of the curve.”

A job with an international focus makes sense, as Chollampel is no stranger to other cultures. Her father and mother came to the United States from India. Her dad owned several restaurant franchises in Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana and Kansas, including El Chico, Pizza Patron and Burger King. Her mom was a registered nurse at the Medical Center of McKinney. Chollampel and two younger brothers were raised in Oklahoma, and later McKinney.

Chollampel’s husband, John, manages real estate holdings for a law firm. They live in Carrollton with their three children, ages 8, 6 and 2½.

The Jindal School was very helpful in Chollampel’s search for work when she decided to move back to Dallas. And “the UTD alumni center was a great network that I used when making this move,” she says. “I was changing states and needed to know what my resources were. I actually reached out to the UTD network first. There are so many connections to be made through the alumni center.”