Having spent almost three decades flying to exotic and far flung destinations with British Airways, meeting numerous heads of state and celebrities (she counts UK fashion icon, Paul Smith amongst her friends!), Maxine McKenzie has hung up her professional wings to take on the newly created role of Sales Communication Lead at Consenna. Here she explains why the two roles won’t necessarily be as different as they initially appear.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve lost count of the number of times that people have reacted with surprise that I’ve taken on what is seemingly such a ‘different’ role to my previous life as long-haul cabin crew for BA. Certainly, there’ll be a lot less pointing towards emergency exits (or at least I hope so!), calming the nerves of anxious passengers and continually switching my body clock to the local time zone, but in actual fact, there’s a huge amount of my flying experience that lends itself perfectly to my new role.
Working in airline travel exposes you to a wide and varied cross section of society. As a result, you very quickly learn to hone your interpersonal skills in terms of active listening to understand customer needs and your communications skills to reassure them of your commitment to addressing those.
Indeed, I pride myself on my forward thinking and strategic approach to supporting customers and working with them to form a meaningful relationship. All those years of face to face contact at 35,000 ft has convinced me that, at heart, I am a people person. Of course, Covid is scuppering most face to face business liaison at the moment but that doesn’t detract from the need to really get to know the people you’re working with and for.
So whilst I am now faced on daily basis with terms that include sales promotion, sales effectiveness, risk managed promotions and many more besides, when you stop to remember the value of first-class customer service, communication and the importance of nurturing relationships, it turns out that the life in the busy world of the IT channel isn’t so different to global air travel after all!