“Why would I work anywhere else when there’s so much to experience right here?”
As a Project Manager, Eva Doggett has worked on some hugely exciting initiatives in recent years, including the launch of our new uniform in September 2014, and the opening of our Newark Clubhouse in 2012. These kinds of high-profile projects are certainly a challenge – it’s the Project Manager’s job to keep everything on track and running smoothly while liaising with people from across the business, with different demands, often in different timezones – but it’s nothing that Eva can’t handle. With a background in analytics, she joined Virgin Atlantic over seven years ago, slotting neatly into a Cargo Analyst role. But after gaining plenty of exposure to big projects, she was soon on a path towards her current role in Project Management.
“The great thing about project management is the sheer diversity of projects you get to work on. Each of them calls on slightly different skill sets – even though you’re applying the same basic principles and methodologies,” says Eva. “I’ve worked across all areas, from technology and construction to the Boeing 787-9 project, as well as legislative projects which underpin our ability to operate as an airline. These usually involve implementing new policies and procedures – things like safety and security. It’s not as glamorous or high profile as more customer-facing projects but it’s still of fundamental importance.”
“Speaking of glamorous and high-profile, I was lucky enough to work on commissioning our new uniform. It might sound simple at face value but it was actually a three-year process. We started by going out to tender with our requirements and sourcing a roster of designers to pitch. From the pitch process we whittled down to a shortlist of three. At this stage we were given samples based on the concepts we’d chosen. As our people are the most visible face of the brand, Richard was extremely hands on in the process too. In fact, the final decision to go with Vivienne Westwood was his. I even got to go to the launch party for the uniform. There aren’t too many jobs where you get to do that.”
“When I was in New York project managing the new Clubhouse build, I had to deal with everything from construction to recruitment,” she continues. “You really are viewed as the go-to person for everyone involved, so it’s quite a responsibility. Four days from opening, Hurricane Sandy hit. So as well as dealing with all these people vying for my attention, I had to factor a natural disaster into the equation. I’m proud to say I took it all in my stride though and we were able to open our doors with minimal delays. That’s really what project management is all about: just keep calm and carry on.”
“I’d always been interested in working in the aviation industry. So it made perfect sense for me to work with Virgin Atlantic. There’s something about our brand that sets us apart. It’s not just that we’re not afraid to do things differently and break new ground, there’s an indefinable something that makes working here feel special. We don’t follow the crowd – I like that.”
“To be honest, I didn’t even know that project management existed as a discipline in its own right. I think what appealed to me initially was the common sense aspect of things. Obviously, there’s a lot more to the role than this but, essentially, this is what it all boils down to. I was lucky enough to have a great boss who was willing to take a chance on me as a trainee and I’ve not looked back. That’s the thing about working at Virgin. If you want to do something; if you show the right passion and aptitude, they will get behind you all the way, to make it happen.”
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