We catch up with Virgin Australia’s chief commercial officer about moving to Australia, home-cooked meals and backing yourself.
Can you tell us a little about your career progression?
I grew up in Surrey, England and left school at the age of 16 to work at the local suburban travel agency. There I had the task of stamping brochures and doing the daily banking. Back then, everyone paid cash so at the end of each day I walked down the High Street to the bank to deposit the leather cash box in the night safe – a job I took very seriously.
What would you say is your defining career achievement or the thing you are most proud of?
Looking back, deciding to move to Australia as a 24 year old who was still living at home with my parents was a pretty gutsy move. I have fond memories of putting flat pack furniture together on the floor of my first apartment using a shoe as a hammer.
What have been the biggest challenges to success you’ve encountered professionally?
Some might assume that not having a university degree or being female may have been a challenge at times, but I have been very fortunate.
With the benefit of wisdom, what advice would you give your 21 year old self when you were starting out in your career?
To back myself more, and not be slowed down by self-doubt.
How would you describe your business/management style? What sort of things are most important to you professionally?
For any leader, engaging your people and taking them on the journey with you is paramount. For me, it’s all about the customer, whether that is the CEO of an ASX100 company or a guest taking their one flight for the year.
Who are the people you admire most professionally or in any field/walk of life?
I’ve always had a huge amount of respect and admiration for all those who work in our hospitals.
What do you do to unwind when you aren’t working? What is most important to you outside the office?
Nothing beats a good home-cooked meal and glass of red with my husband. I also love watching sports, particularly skiing and other winter sports.
For you, what’s the best aspect about working in the travel industry?
The people. Every day, I get to meet the most interesting people both in the travel industry and through our clients who work for many of Australia’s best companies and brands.
What one thing gets you through a stressful day?
Definitely my morning shot of espresso.
You can see the other ladies from our exclusive Women in Travel series here: