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Kara Reed

Kara Reed

Business Change Manager

I joined Heathrow in 2006 from the retail industry – I never expected to be able to have such a varied career within one organisation. My first role was in the Security team which gave me an excellent grounding in how the operation works, even though I had no aviation or security experience. That has been a theme for me at Heathrow – I have moved into new roles based on my ability to do the role, rather than having the qualifications and experience to start with. I then made the tough decision to leave the colleagues I had become friends with, and still am today, to move in to a scheduling role within our Development team.  I didn’t realise Heathrow had a construction team but my new manager saw my potential.  During this time, I had my first experience of personal coaching as I wanted to progress within the company but wasn’t sure how to go about my personal development.  That experience opened my eyes to the benefits of coaching and ultimately led to Heathrow sponsoring my professional coaching qualification so that I could coach others.

My next few roles continued to centre around our Development function and I was part of the team who opened our newest terminal buildings.  It’s great to be able to travel through Heathrow with friends and family and say “I did that”.  I was also lucky enough to be involved in the airport preparations for the 2012 London Olympic & Paralympic games, trialling with and training colleagues in the new processes and ultimately spending several days at the athletes’ village to support the departure plans of the national teams.  I love working with our stakeholders and that led me to several roles which involved moving airlines between terminals as we changed and updated our infrastructure – it isn’t as easy as people think!  Heathrow is always a talking point and I often get told I’m working on a new project every time someone sees me, but it’s the variety that makes me want to come to work every day. I’m now part of the team looking at how we grow Heathrow as well as continuing to coach colleagues and take an active role in our women’s network.

Recently Heathrow has fully embraced agile working.  Being able to agree working locations and patterns that work for my line manager but also me, means that I am able to volunteer with a local Scout group, spend more time with family and also improve my wellbeing.  For me this is only one thing which makes Heathrow a great place to work.  Heathrow takes its corporate and social responsibilities seriously – the Heathrow Community Fund has provided significant financial support for charities that I am involved with. When I complete the annual colleague survey, I struggle to answer the question ‘What would make Heathrow a better place to work at?’ – I honestly don’t know what more I could ask for!

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