Laura Brander

Vice President, Communications , Virgin Atlantic

Laura is Vice President, Communications at Virgin Atlantic, where she's responsible for corporate comms, PR, events, social media, internal communications, brand content and crisis response globally. She led the communications response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the £2bn recapitalisation and transformation of the airline. This included cross industry lobbying efforts for the aviation sector, ensuring a path to recovery by re-opening the skies. After 603 days, on 8 November 2021 the reopening of the vital transatlantic corridor was marked with a unique Virgin Atlantic - British Airways dual take-off. Laura has masterminded many inaugural route launches with Sir Richard Branson, including Tel Aviv, Austin and Tampa; product launches of the airline's state of the art A350 and A330neo aircraft; and high profile DE&I initiatives, such as the world's first Pride Flight and agenda-setting tattoo and gender neutral uniform policy campaigns. She joined Virgin Atlantic in 2018. Previously, she spent 15 years heading up communications in leading UK newsrooms, spanning BBC Global News, BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and ITV News at ITN. There, she relaunched ITV's iconic News at Ten, resulting in the Battle of the Bongs, and promoted powerful exclusive journalism including the Jimmy Savile scandal. Laura studied at the University of Edinburgh. She lives in London and is a board member of the Women of the Year Foundation and Awards.