Describe your job?
I am the Director of Cargo Operations and so have responsibility for the strategic leadership and general management of our fully outsourced and global cargo operation including all cargo handling, beyond network trucking and all ULD equipment (for both cargo and passenger baggage). I am lucky enough to look after a wonderful team of just under 70 people and together we ensure regulatory, safety, security and compliance, ensuring operational performance through our third parties.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Why? What options seemed open or closed to you?
I wanted to be cabin crew or a pilot so that I could fly for a living. Both my uncles have had careers in flying and so it ran in the family and I was lucky enough that my parents and my school had taught me that I could do whatever I wanted . By the time I left college though, I had realised that my real passion was in fixing things instead and so I went on to do Mechanical Engineering at University.
What in your job has brought or given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfilment?
The people I work with…everyone is so passionate and committed to this business and I love enabling them to be their best and to enjoy what they are doing. It’s not always easy and we have very tough days in operations but it’s the team work and mutual support that gets us through every problem.
What keeps you motivated?
Always wanting to feel like I’ve done my best in each situation, particularly when it comes to the safety of our people and our operation. Also, working in the operation, no two days are the same and you can start a day with a plan and it’s gone out of the window in 10 minutes! That keeps you on your toes and keep things interesting…
What women have inspired you?
I have been lucky to have worked with some amazing women in my different roles and I can say that I have learnt something from each of them. Whether it’s integrity, patience, compassion or a phenomenal ability to multi-task, they have each been part of my own development. We are still in touch and they know who they are!
How do you think women’s equality has evolved and what needs to happen next?
Giving this more consideration in recent years with the focus we as an industry have on diversity, I have learnt that women are less likely to push themselves forward for a role, even if they are a great fit. They may take more time mulling it over, or they will wait a little longer to be given an opportunity and so we need more leaders to champion and encourage talented females. It is a huge generalisation, but I think women still need to work harder at promoting themselves. We are focussing on it more than ever though which is a huge step forward and with initiatives such as Passport to Change encouraging STEM subjects for all, I think we can make a difference.
As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
I’ve always worked in a heavily male-dominated environment. I was part of the very first intake of girls at a secondary all-boys school and at university, I was one of eleven girls out of over a hundred in our year and then went on to work in Engineering. I never felt there was an obvious issue, I guess having become very accustomed to these environments throughout my life. So I guess I am lucky in that I have never had any barriers.
What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Authenticity. To always be your true self if you want people to trust and follow you on any journey.
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