By Lynette Carrington / Photos by Kimberly Carrillo
Margaret Anderson’s Jet Set Elite serves everyone from Super Bowl bigwigs to local nonprofits
Margaret Anderson is surrounded by glamour. On a Wednesday afternoon in mid-May, she stands inside a brand-new hangar in the Scottsdale Airpark, amid three state-of-the-art Tesla vehicles and a brand-new private jet that’s the first plane to be parked in this hangar, which is owned by John Levitz, son of Levitz Furniture founder Leon J. Levitz. She’s just had her hair and makeup professionally done, and is ready for her close up in a photo shoot for the cover of this magazine.
Anderson’s no stranger to jet-setting, or to Scottsdale Airpark. She’s the owner of Jet Set Elite, which operates out of the Airpark, and also lives in the immediate vicinity. She has called Scottsdale home for 28 years.
“Growing up, I was a military brat, but also spent many formative years on my grandparents’ ranch in South Texas,” says Anderson, who earned her business degree from the University of Texas in Austin.
The lift-off of Jet Set Elite had its earliest seeds in aviation medicine. In a previous job, Anderson would arrange air travel for terminally ill people that needed to be moved quickly from one part of the globe to another or for those that were sick or injured in another part of the world and needed to be immediately returned to the United States from another country. “I had been in aviation medicine many years,” Anderson explains. “In one of my last positions, I signed a non-compete, not realizing it was going to return to haunt me. When I was let go from that company, I was unable to do what I loved in helping people through aviation medicine.” But she was still able to handle the logistical side of jet transport and became involved in brokering private jets.
“Some of the families I had helped through my work in aviation medicine didn’t forget me,” Anderson says. One family reached out to Anderson expressing gratitude for the work she did in arranging to get their ill father from Las Vegas to New York. After their father had passed, they inquired with Anderson to see if she could get the family a private jet to take them to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for a vacation. Just like that, Anderson’s foray into chartering jets was born. Anderson’s company was founded five years ago and some clients were those she had assisted during her years in aviation medicine. “Now, I have jets all over the country, depending on where my clients are,” Anderson says.
In 2013, Anderson attended a breakfast held by the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. “A Super Bowl host committee was there looking for businesses to be the primary vendors for the Super Bowl and they were concentrating primarily on small businesses,” Anderson recalls. She signed up to be considered and went through a strenuous vetting process, ultimately getting approved to provide services for the 2014 Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona. “There were no other private jet brokers providing service,” she says. “I just called it luxury travel at that time.”
During the screening process, she did a positive pivot by giving her luxury travel company a name – Jet Set Elite. A mad dash to create a website and social networking pages ensued as Jet Set Elite was providing Super Bowl XLIX services to people traveling to the Valley from all over the country.
Anderson quickly began offering related services to those booking jets through Jet Set Elite. Private chef services, luxury rental properties and personal security were all added to the company menu. “The whole year during Super Bowl XLIX, I was setting up flights for the big event sponsors and NFL owners,” Anderson explains. “The challenge with all of this was that nobody was absolutely sure they were coming for Super Bowl until two weeks before it happened.”
During the time of Super Bowl XLIX, Anderson was contacted by two charitable organizations that promote and manage athlete’s private charities. “Super Bowl is one of the biggest philanthropy weekends in the country and athletes raise money for their charities,” Anderson says. Jet Set Elite quickly became the “go-to” company for managing Super Bowl events for these organizations.
Anderson relishes being able to provide a variety of services connected to luxury travel, some of which have a philanthropic angle. “What sets Jet Set Elite apart are the services offered,” Anderson explains. “These services are geared to high-end net worth individuals, celebrities, athletes and CEOs.”
She founded The Essential Piece as part of Jet Set Elite to offer business-related services to nonprofits including assistance with process management, fundraising and event planning.
Anderson is also personally involved in other philanthropic endeavors, helping to support many Valley organizations and causes. She enjoys serving as a local ambassador for the American Heart Association. “One of the arms of the American Heart Association is the ambassador board,” Anderson says. “It is a group of women who champion the cause of women’s awareness of heart health. We talk to groups and we’re also involved with Macy’s.” She has personally been affected by heart disease and shares her personal experiences with others, especially when she speaks to groups at Macy’s. Each February, Macy’s sells red dress pins that support the American Heart Association while giving shoppers a 20 percent discount at the store.
She also serves on the board of Southwest Kids’ Cancer Foundation, the fundraising arm of Arizona Camp Sunrise and Sidekicks, a children’s oncology camp that provides year-round camp experiences to children battling and surviving cancer, and additional camp experience for those children’s siblings and families. “This is the only children’s oncology camp in the entire state,” Anderson says. Other organizations that Anderson supports include The Arizona Humane Society and Donor Network of Arizona. Anderson has supported Donor Network of Arizona ever since her beloved son passed away suddenly and she made the decision to donate his organs. The nonprofit remains near and dear to her heart.
Although she has a busy schedule that takes her around the Valley, Anderson loves living in and working in Scottsdale. “I really love the weather here and so much of the time, it’s perfect,” Anderson says. “It’s beautiful here and the Scottsdale Airpark has many great businesses and restaurants. This city has so much to offer!”
As an involved business owner, Anderson embraces the community in which she lives and works. “One of the great things about the Scottsdale Airpark community is that it is so close-knit, yet focused on growing,” she says. “Although it’s one of the busiest private airports in the country, it still has a small town feel. I love that I can walk out on the runway and see all the private jets almost any time. It’s thrilling.”