Maria Sebastian joined Virgin Atlantic in 2013 when it was facing a £93m loss. March 2016 saw the firm record pre-tax profits of £22.5m for the previous year, 81% up. The company credits its long-term strategy for the resurgence and Sebastian will no doubt have been the architect of some of the plans. Her lightbulb moment came when she became a marketer: “Having always enjoyed combining the analytical with the creative, it wasn’t until I took on my first marketing role (a decade into my career) that I found a path that allowed me to regularly combine both.”
Best advice: "Whether it is thinking through how to approach a big project, learning a new skill or committing to a new year’s resolution, this saying has been a great piece of motivating advice: ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’."