Sarah Kumeta

Sarah Kumeta

Future Leaders Programme

As a Natural Sciences graduate, I never expected to be working at an airport. But Heathrow offered me exactly what I wanted in a Graduate Programme. Its sheer size and global reputation drew me in. I was intrigued as to how such a multi-faceted business is able to operate day in, day out. Heathrow is like a whole city in itself. So I saw the opportunity to work with a real variety of different people across a wide range of areas.

I soon learnt how communication makes Heathrow run smoothly. In our Airport Operations Centre, I worked to improve our understanding of how passengers travel through the airport. I spent lots of time in the terminals working with our operational team. Next I joined the Heathrow Express team. Here I was given responsibility for social media and tasked to increase revenue by engaging with customers effectively.

I’ve had fantastic exposure to project management. Now I’m improving the experience of one in three of all customers who, as connecting passengers, never actually leave the airport. I’ve been given sole responsibility for designing and implementing a new “Relaxation Room”. It’s given me a real understanding of how we plan to keep improving the service we deliver to all our passengers.

I was lucky enough to help organise the Heathrow Midnight Marathon. This is a race on the runway to raise funds for charity. It was amazing to see Terminal 5 with no passengers, but instead TV screens beaming the image of over 200 excited colleagues in their running Lycra. It felt great to have arranged this and to know that our hard work had been worthwhile.

When I look at an aircraft taking off, I see much more. It’s easy to forget the external suppliers, Heathrow colleagues, technologies, finance, vehicles and planning that make it possible. Working here makes you realise the importance of everyone pulling in the same direction. And it’s massively inspiring to see this happen.

Heathrow’s culture is very forward-looking. We focus on doing the right thing by our colleagues, passengers and local community. This has become engrained in the daily decisions that we make about improving the passenger experience, our working environment, and the quality of life of our neighbours.

Be prepared to stretch out of your comfort zone. Because whatever you do here, you’ll get valuable experience for your future career and learn from knowledgeable colleagues from all walks of life. I’m excited to see where Heathrow will take me, especially in the face of possible expansion. Shaping the new Heathrow is undoubtedly a fantastic opportunity.

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