Home » Top Women in Business: CVG’s Candace McGraw

Top Women in Business: CVG’s Candace McGraw

A look at some of the women who are making a difference in Kentucky

By Lorie Hailey

Candace McGraw, center, participates in the groundbreaking for Amazon Air hub at CVG alongside Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and other airport officials.

(Editor’s note: The August issue of  The Lane Report features our semi-annual list of the Top Women in Business. At lanereport.com, we’re shining the spotlight on one of the honorees each day. Day 1: Candace McGraw, president and CEO of Cincinnat/ Northern Kentucky International Airport)

Our occasional feature, Top Women in Business, highlights some of the women in and around Kentucky who are making an impact in business, the professions, politics and economic development. The feature recognizes women in key roles whose work ethic and body of work are making important contributions to commerce—and life—in Kentucky.

Top Women in Business has grown to become one of The Lane Report’s most popular features. Over the years, we’ve profiled more than 100 women who shatter stereotypes, encourage other businesswomen and help their Kentucky companies reach new heights. The women featured in this issue are no exception. From airport CEO to hospital executive, and successful online retailer to construction company VP, these women are forging their own paths, proving that hard work, perseverance and creativity pays off.

Candace McGraw

Candace McGraw joined the executive staff at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) in 2009 and became its CEO in 2011. Since that time, she has worked to position the airport for future growth, attracted numerous air carriers, increased the airport’s economic impact, and diversified CVG’s revenues through targeted cargo, land and concessions improvements. Her leadership also was instrumental in attracting the Amazon Air Hub to CVG, a once-in-a-lifetime, $1.5 billion investment in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region.

Candace McGraw grew up in Pittsburgh and currently lives in Union, Ky.

Title/company: Chief executive officer, Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).

How long at company and position: I have been in my current role as CEO for 10 years.

Previous jobs/ positions: Before coming to CVG as chief administrative officer (October 2009), I had a number of roles, from attorney to deputy director in the Cleveland Airport System and in Cleveland municipal government.

Education/training: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from Duquesne University and juris doctor from University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Top accomplishment: One of my favorite accomplishments is building and leading a world-class team at CVG. I have much admiration and respect for my colleagues and their abilities. However, I hope my top accomplishment is yet to come.

The person(s) who most influenced or mentored me: My mom, who modeled a dedicated work ethic; Jacque Schuck, my first airport boss, who taught me the importance of preparedness and being thorough; and John Mok, my last airport boss, who emphasized the importance of global connections.

My biggest challenge and how I overcame it: One of my biggest challenges is maintaining a healthy work/home balance. It has been a challenge throughout my decadeslong career—and it is a challenge with which I still grapple.

My advice to younger women in business: Learn your craft and then be fearless about leaning in to new challenges and projects.

Something I learned during the pandemic: I learned to really treasure the importance of personal relationships and friendships I have developed over decades. There is no substitution for a hug or sharing a cocktail in person.

Something I love doing: Traveling anywhere a plane will take me!

When I was a child, I wanted to be: A lawyer who righted injustices. I have always rooted for the underdog.

One important skill I think everyone should have: A dedicated work ethic. The most important personal attribute I bring to my job: The ability to remain calm under pressure (thanks to my mom)!

A song from my teenage years that I still rock out to when nobody else is around: Anything from Bruce Springsteen. (And it doesn’t matter whether anyone is around. Bruce is the Boss!)

Lorie Hailey is special publications editor for The Lane Report. Reach her at [email protected]