Describe your job?
I am the VP of Customer Centres, responsible for the reservations, ticketing, digital engagement, call centre and customer care functions at Virgin Atlantic. We have just under 500 amazing people working 24/7 in the Customer Centre world, to ensure our customers receive the very best service.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Why? What options seemed open or closed to you?
I really didn’t know what I wanted to be, and left school to start a degree to become a secondary school business studies teacher. A month in, and the thought of studying for another four years didn’t appeal. I applied for a call centre job at Midland Bank and gave myself the commitment that I would study whilst working and progress my career in this way. Looking back, I feel coming from a local school in rural Wales, there wasn’t a huge amount of career discussions and this has made me ensure I actively talk to my son about all the options available to him to give him all the knowledge possible so that he can make an informed choice as to his future.
What in your job has given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfilment?
Being able to travel the world. I lived in Jersey for 10 years, Malta for over two years and travelled to some great places including Manila, Hong Kong, Dubai, India, Mexico, New York, Buffalo, Atlanta, Washington, France and a few more. Working for Virgin Atlantic has enabled me to continue my love of travelling.
What keeps you motivated?
My 12 year old son who inspires me every day to be a better person. My inspirational mum and the people I work with who truly care for our Virgin Atlantic customers.
What women have inspired you?
My mum. After taking the courage to completely change her life at 40, she is now successful, confident, full of life and full of energy. Always encouraging me to be me and she is an awesome grandmother to my son
How do you think women’s equality has evolved and what needs to happen next? The very fact we’re talking about equality demonstrates we are aware of the issue, but quite honestly, I’ll be very happy when the era comes when it’s no longer a topic or debate. I definitely think we are moving in the right direction. I’m not a fan of having quotas and I think women do not want to be seen as the ‘token’ member of the team. We need to start in young education, and be clear that both men and women can make choices in life, whether to work, build a career or be a stay at home mom or dad. It’s a life discussion and decision for all genders. If we can start with this mind-set in our early years then this will encourage everyone to make the choices they want.
As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
None. I can honestly say that I have worked for some incredible males and females – all supporting me to be a good leader and a good mom. I had a vision of what I wanted to achieve, and worked so hard to achieve it, and had great leaders to support me, encourage me and push me along the way.
What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Be careful what you wish for.
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