Ellen Keszler

Clear Sky Associates

2023 Phocuswright Conference speaker

Ellen Keszler CEO
Ellen Keszler is an accomplished executive with a proven track record of leading companies ranging in size from start-ups to enterprise. She has significant experience as a board member and start-up advisor, with deep knowledge of corporate governance and board best practices and qualifies as an Audit Committee Financial Expert. In addition to serving on public, private, and non-profit boards, she has a real passion for achieving innovation through technology.

With decades of experience in the travel and technology industries, Ellen possesses invaluable insights that enable her to tackle critical problems encountered by CEOs and their teams
during periods of rapid growth and transformation. She has advised numerous technology start-ups through raising a series A round or strategic acquisitions. She also led a successful new business launch and drove the growth of large, mature businesses. She is an internationally recognized travel technology industry expert who frequently serves as a judge at travel
technology innovation competitions. She was named to the PhoCusWright Hall of Fame in 2022, joining a group of 8 leaders who have helped transform the travel technology industry.

Ellen has served on more than 10 private and public company boards (including CWT, Extended Stay America, PROS, Farelogix, Travel & Transport, and Routehappy), primarily in the travel technology and hospitality industries. She currently serves on the board and chairs the Human Resources & Compensation committee for CWT, a Business-to-Business travel management platform, as well as sitting on the Technology Committee. She also serves on the board and chairs the Audit Committee for Sojern, a direct demand engine for travel. She serves an advisor to three venture capital companies: Thayer Ventures, a venture fund focused on early-stage travel/transportation tech companies, Derive Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in the travel and hospitality technology, and Wayfare, a seed-stage venture fund focused on hospitality and travel tech. Additionally, she is an advisor to multiple travel technology start-up companies.

Ellen’s unwavering dedication to philanthropic endeavors underscores her holistic approach to making a positive impact within and beyond the business realm. Ellen is a lifetime member of the Advisory Council of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. She served for eight years on the board of North Texas Public Broadcasting, chairing the finance committee, and serving on the Executive Committee. She served on the board of Trustees of Preston Hollow Presbyterian School for 6 years, including as Vice President. She was on the board of the National Business Travel Association Foundation for three years and served for two years as its chair and served several terms on the Business Travel News Advisory Board. She has also served as a mentor at Menttium, an organization dedicated to improving professional performance of high potential female executives.

Startup Program Mentor:
I have great depth of experience in the entire travel ecosystem, having worked at American Airlines, Sabre and Travelocity, along with serving on over 10 boards and advising over 20 startups in travel. My experience has particularly focused in travel tech – travel distribution, airline, corporate travel, digital media in travel, as well as hospitality and corporate travel management. I have worked with many startups in the fundraising process although I’m certainly not a VC!