Kimberley – Manager, Flight Service
Kimberley Simpson has been working with Virgin Atlantic since 1994. Prior to starting her career at Virgin Atlantic she worked as an Au Pair in America for a year before joining a leading Mail Order Company as a Training Administrator. Her time in The States however made her yearn for a role where she could still travel and meet people leading her to apply for a role as Cabin Crew not long after returning.
‘I was so excited to get the position with such a well-recognised brand and immediately loved the customer liaison and team working to deliver the unique customer offering that Virgin Atlantic is renowned for. The high company profile and lifestyle this role afforded me was fantastic not only for myself, but family and friends too with the opportunity to travel to places we would never have considered before’.
After 4 years Kimberley was promoted through the ranks to become a Cabin Service Supervisor which was a much more challenging role. She had to lead a team of crew and ensure that the award winning customer service was delivered throughout each of the cabins on-board the aircraft. Whilst working as a Cabin Service Supervisor she moved to work out of the new Manchester Base and whilst there was promoted into the role of Flight Service Manager, that was some 15 years ago!
‘My primary role is to actively oversee our on-board service and to ensure the safety and well- being of not only our customers, but also our crew’ says Kimberley. ‘This is a role that doesn’t stop until we arrive back at base as I’m always on hand 24 hours a day for the team whilst they are away from home. The teams that I manage vary in size depending on the aircraft type and each flight has a different team of crew so you are always managing a different group of people and dynamics which keeps it interesting’.
‘I’ve been supported throughout my career by attending residential courses on Team Leadership, Motivation and Performance & Development. More recently I attended a Holistic course, ‘Flourish’ which dealt with the well-being of our inner selves within the workplace and I found this really beneficial on a personal level too. Virgin Atlantic has been great for support and development throughout my career and I’ve had lots of opportunities to work in other departments such as Recruitment, Service Delivery, Safety Training and HR. Although I have experienced working in other areas of the business I love my flying role as I feel that interaction with people is my strength so I couldn’t imagine doing anything else at the moment’.
What does she enjoy most about her role?
Kimberley’s proudest achievement over her years at Virgin Atlantic was being asked to head up the first ever private Government Charter. ‘The experience was incredible and as recognition I was given a tour of No. 10 as a thank you to the success of these flights. I’ve since worked on other high profile private charters too. It’s always fantastic to represent Virgin Atlantic and showcase our high standards not just as a scheduled airline but in the private sector too’ says Kimberley.
‘The role of Flight Service Manager is fulfilling, demanding, fun and varied. The reason I’ve stayed at Virgin Atlantic so long is because of the opportunities it has afforded me, unlike in other companies I’ve worked for you are really encouraged to make the best of yourself support is at hand should you wish to pursue other interests within the Business. I also love the fact that in this role you’re allowed to be yourself and each time I fly I set the tone for every flight I’m leading.
A career as Cabin Crew has afforded me to indulge my passion for travel and when on terra firma I also get to indulge in my other passion – golf! Flying around the world has also afforded me the opportunity to play golf on some amazing courses too, just another perk of working in this great company.
I know a lady never usually tells but I’m now 50 and just coming up to my 25th anniversary at Virgin Atlantic. I now work part time – 70% which means I work just 12 days per month which is a great work life balance. I’m not sure that I can continue for another 25 years but I’m not ready to hang up my wings just yet!’
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