40 Under 40 2018 | Oriana Branon

Oriana Branon has been invaluable in shaping Alaska Airlines’ story during the airline’s greatest growth period in its 85-year history.

Branon, the first PR hire Alaska Airlines made in California, is responsible for leading comms for the airline in the Bay Area while the company integrates with Virgin America to become the fifth largest U.S. airline. During this milestone period, Branon’s strategic thinking, resourcefulness, and polished approach have made her a valued counselor for the company’s execs and an invaluable resource to her colleagues and junior team members.

Airline mergers are notorious for the internal and external challenges they pose, Branon’s work has ensured that the high-profile marriage is viewed positively by companies’ thousands of employees as well as for its scores of guests in the San Francisco Bay area.

To help create a seamless transition, Branon created and deployed a new communications approach for Alaska Airlines that focused on targeted storylines and storytelling methods that resonated with its critical millennial and tech-focused audience and increased media coverage by over 300%.

By establishing key relationships with local reporters across business, tech, aviation, travel, and consumer beats, Branon simultaneously drove greater understanding and awareness of Alaska Airlines’ growth strategy, current successes, and business objectives.

As a Mexican-American woman, Branon is committed to education equity and access as well as diversity and inclusion, and personally supports causes that focus on underprivileged and disadvantaged youth in the areas of education, mentoring, and career.

- She leads the airline’s community relations efforts, working with close to 70 local organizations and providing over $1 million in charitable resources in the past year.

- Branon sits on the board of directors for the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, an organization that helps propel the next generation of Latino leaders to success through education equity and access.

- She directed local and regional grassroots outreach efforts for Women Impacting Public Policy, the nation's largest nonpartisan public policy organization that advocates for women small business owners.

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