March 4, 2021
‘Surviving & Thriving’ – championing the women across Virgin Atlantic; sharing individual stories of how they’ve survived and thrived over the last 12 months.
Tell us a bit about your role at Virgin Atlantic…
I am the Duty Manager at Hong Kong International Airport, responsible for the smooth running of our operations at HKG to ensure all flights depart on time and comply with all safety regulations. My day can involve anything from liaising with our airport partners, such as the onboard catering suppliers to check all meals have been loaded, to handling any flight irregularities or customer service issues. I absolutely love the variety of what I do.
I’ve worked for Virgin Atlantic for more than 27 years, starting as a customer service agent then to supervisor, before stepping into my current role as Duty Manager. I think I have the best job in the world!
What were your ambitions growing up, and did you see any barriers to getting where you wanted to be?
I studied tourism and business at college and I was always really interested in working within the aviation industry, either for an airline or an airport. After leaving college in 1991, I joined Cathay Pacific as a customer service officer before moving to Virgin Atlantic in 1994. I felt so lucky when I joined Virgin Atlantic and still feel so grateful to be a part of the amazing Virgin family! I continued with my studies whilst working and completed a distance learning MBA in 2008.
What gives you the most job satisfaction?
Virgin Atlantic has given me so many opportunities to learn and grow. No matter where in the world you are; where you come from; the type of person you are; if you’re willing to give something a go then you’re always fully supported. The culture at Virgin is so unique and I am so proud of working for such an amazing airline.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I’ve been lucky enough to win a few awards over the years which I’m incredibly proud of. Back in 2007, I won the Flying Club Hero Award which I was nominated for by our Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold members in recognition of good customer service. I pride myself on making sure our customers have the best experience whenever they fly with us, so this award really meant a lot.
In 2017, I won the award for customer excellence at the Asia Awards having been nominated by our Head of Asia Pacific. And then in 2018 I attended the Red Hot 100 event in London which recognises 100 employees from across Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays for their efforts that year. It was such a fun evening, getting dressed up and meeting the teams from across the world!
What has been your experience of living through the pandemic?
2020 was an incredibly tough year for everyone. The world has never experienced anything like it, and the aviation industry has been hit especially hard. We’re so used to freely travelling and connecting people, but our lives have changed to the ‘new normal’ of lockdown, social distancing, and furlough.
In Hong Kong, the outbreak of Covid-19 was first recorded on 23rd January 2020 and since then we have dealt with multiple waves of infections. Our confirmed cases and deaths have remained relatively low – at 10,000 and 198 respectively as of February 2021. Despite being an international travel hub with millions of passengers transiting through the island making us more vulnerable to the spread, we believe infections remained low due to the people of Hong Kong adopting the habit of wearing masks in public since the SARS pandemic of 2003.
In April 2020, I tested positive for Covid-19 myself after showing symptoms and was admitted to hospital for isolation. I wasn’t prepared for this to happen to me and felt worried about the side effects and longer-term health issues. After 28 days, I was discharged from hospital and have since recovered well.
However, the lasting impact of experiencing Covid wasn’t physical for me, it was mental. I think the biggest change for me is how differently I see things now; I’ve become accustomed to living with the pandemic and I do whatever I can to lift the spirits of my friends, family, and colleagues. We can all play our part in fighting this pandemic together, with love and care for one another. We’re all a lot stronger than we may have first realised. I’ve recognised the importance of looking after myself; eating well, taking breaks, exercising (I took up yoga at home recently), and bringing my mind into the present instead of worrying about the past or future. Control what you can and do what makes you happy. It’s easy to spiral when you’re low or anxious.
The vaccine offers light at the end of the tunnel. I really hope as many people as possible can get vaccinated across the world so we create the right conditions to safely return to normal life, economic recovery and, of course, travel.
Describe what it’s like to work for Virgin Atlantic in three words…
Great People and Culture
Find out more about the inspirational women of Virgin Atlantic on our International Women’s Day page