2023 Airport Business Top 40 Under 40: Daniella Plata, MPA

Dec. 19, 2023
Daniella Plata, MPA, McAllen International Airport (MFE) International Business Manager

As the International Business Manager at McAllen International Airport (MFE), Daniella Plata has seamlessly blended her passion for aviation with a commitment to fostering international relationships and driving sustainable growth.

Plata's role as the International Business Manager at McAllen International Airport began in 2020. Her responsibilities extend beyond traditional boundaries, encompassing the development and implementation of international strategies to enhance the airport's business and air service opportunities. Plata not only monitors governmental and business affairs impacting the airport but also strategically cultivates key international relationships, laying the foundation for sustainable growth in the Mexico air service market.

"As an International Business Manager for McAllen International Airport with a diplomatic background, I am dedicated to the international connectivity and the social benefits of traveling, including the quality of life, by expanding cultural and educational experiences to travelers who look to connect with their roots or visit family and friends in Mexico and Central America."

She has successfully organized and executed numerous international government relations events. These events have strengthened ties with Mexican states such as Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, and cities like Reynosa, Puerto Vallarta, and Guadalajara. Collaborating with both public and private entities, she has played a pivotal role in creating a network that supports the airport's international endeavors.

Plata's professional journey is marked by a series of notable accomplishments. Her academic achievements include earning a Master's in Public Affairs from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2021, complementing her Bachelor's in International Affairs from Universidad del Valle de Mexico in 2011. Additionally, she has pursued certifications in Social Media Management and Diplomatic Protocol and Ceremonial.

One standout accomplishment is her management of McAllen International Airport's international business strategy and relations. This role involves collaborating with governments, tourism departments, economic development offices, and airports in Mexican states and cities. By fostering these partnerships, she has contributed significantly to air service planning and broader business and intergovernmental collaborations.

"The aspiration to expand air service and bring connectivity to small communities like McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley region has motivated me since I started my public service in the Aviation Administration,” she said.

Plata has brought innovation and inclusivity to the forefront of her endeavors. Her approach includes incorporating art and culture to enhance the travel experience for passengers from different countries. Through collaborative efforts with consulates from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, she organizes cultural events at the airport, celebrating occasions like Hispanic Heritage Month, Dia de Muertos Cultural Program, and International Women's Day.

Plata strives to ensure the effective communication of the airport's message to both English and Spanish-speaking audiences. Her efforts have not only shaped the airport's image positively but have also garnered attention from concessionaire partners, influencing the retail offering during significant cultural events.

"I enjoy working for an organization that advocates for inclusion and ensuring that every team member knows they all play an essential role in the everyday airport operation,” she said.

Looking to the future, Plata said, "I aim to create awareness about the importance of enhancing air service in small communities, highlighting the benefits of contributing to sustainable development, alleviating poverty through tourism, and facilitating access to education and business opportunities for McAllen residents."