What do you currently do?
I am the Managing Director, UK & Ireland for Amadeus – a leading technology travel provider for the global travel and tourism industry. We provide technology solutions to both travel providers including airlines, hotels, rail operators, cruise and ferry operators, car rental companies and tour operators and travel agencies. We pride ourselves on having the ability to accompany our customers through various IT solutions.
Having been with Amadeus for over 10 years in the research and development centre in the south of France, I have just completed my first 100 days in this new role. The UK and Ireland are certainly two challenging markets with different dynamics and needs and I am excited to be working “back home” once again.
What is your inspiration in business?
My customers and of course technology. The travel sector is a complex and dynamic one and as a result our customers’ needs are driving us to produce the best technology that can revolutionise the way they do business and offer their customers a true door-to-door travel experience.
Pundits have been predicting the demise of the travel agent for decades but it is a resilient sector, constantly reinventing itself and coming up with new ideas to serve the travelling public.
For example, at the moment, we are looking at providing a single mobile app that would serve both the traveller, and travel management companies, in terms of duty of care and booking, making sure that the business traveller feels loved all the way along the trip.
Who do you admire?
I am not sure there is one particular person. If I am honest it’s probably all those unsung heroes at the forefront of technology innovation who have the insight to predict and produce exactly what it is that people want, before they even know it themselves. Technology has clearly transformed our lives, right from the introduction of the telephone through to the internet. I have also been fortunate enough to live in various countries, so I know there is a lot to learn (and admire) from different cultures.
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
Of course, I think you would be lying if you said no. Those that know me, know I am a woman of action and have no doubt made decisions in the past that looking back I might have done slightly differently. However, you need to learn from your mistakes and move on – if you have the ability to stand back, assess and then adapt to the situation you are in, you can only go on to succeed.
What defines your way of doing business?
I have high standards, am passionate about what I do and have the courage to do things differently…and this may shock at first until people realise how I tick. First and foremost I listen to my customers – sometimes taking my strong positions from them – and spending a lot a lot of time trying to understand their business challenges, working to pull together the technology to fit their needs.
We are incredibly lucky in that we have a hotbed of technology at Amadeus and letting our customers have first access to it is paramount.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Listen, listen, listen to those around you and then keep listening. By doing so you will be able to make bold, transformative decisions that are required in this competitive landscape.
Also, know what your skill set is and see what you need to complement that – either in mentoring for yourself or other team members that can help you all move forward together.
And last but not least push your boundaries and occasionally bid farewell to your comfort zone. You need to take some risks – you will not always be right – but if you are listening you will know when to take stock and reassess!