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Lisa Sanderson

Travel Consultant

I am in Direct Sales, a Travel Consultant based at Smales Farm.  This is the international reservations centre operating 24/7.  Here we receive calls from domestic and abroad.

We provide sales and service for flights with Air New Zealand and Star Alliance carriers, also accommodation and insurance.  The role is varied and covers all aspects of enquiries related to travel.

WHERE DID YOUR JOURNEY START?

The journey started at the end of 2010.  After 15 years as a full-time mother of four children and with the youngest at intermediate school, I decided it was time to start a new career.  My previous work experience, a lifetime ago, was as a legal PA. The airline industry was something completely new to me and prospect was exciting.  Getting a relevant CV together was a challenge.  I retrieved the most recent version out of storage to find an academic record from the 80’s and a reference from my boss in England dated 1993!  The job application form stated clearly not to include any work experience older than 10 years.  From then until now I had been closely involved in preschool/primary education, attended and facilitated parenting courses, parent help, lunchroom, chaired the PTA, managed/coached sports teams and produced four fine teenagers but had no formal written proof of my proficiency.  I approached the principal of the primary school my family had attended as I felt he was a reliable referee for the “work” I had been undertaking in recent years.  He graciously provided me with a reference and that attached to my school results formed the basis of my application to Air New Zealand.  I progressed step by step through the recruitment procedures and was delighted to be offered a position in the contact centre starting in February 2011.

WHERE HAS YOUR JOURNEY TAKEN YOU SO FAR WITHIN AIR NEW ZEALAND?

So far the journey has both met and exceeded my expectations in so many ways.  This role has been intense, incredibly varied and infinitely rewarding.  I started training domestic and short haul with a fantastic and diverse group mostly new to the airline industry that have become firm friends and part of the reason I enjoy coming to work each day.  We progressed to long haul training after four months and after less than one year were equipped with the system knowledge to book flights, accommodation for customers worldwide.  I have had numerous opportunities to be involved in forums, workshops and training groups within the wider company and enjoy the interactions with many interesting people in other parts of the organisation. More recently I have had a part in training new domestic/short haul consultants as they take their first live calls and assisting them through this sometimes bewildering experience.  I love the ability to share my new knowledge with them knowing that only a short time ago I was in the same situation.

WHERE DO YOU HOPE YOUR JOURNEY WILL TAKE YOU?

Looking further forward, I am currently training as an Assistant Team Leader with the intention of being a team leader at some stage down the track.  The longer I am involved in this company I learn of more possibilities and opportunities for progression and look forward to whatever the future may hold…

WHAT AIR NEW ZEALAND VALUE DO YOU FEEL YOU BEST REPRESENT AND WHY?

The two Air New Zealand values that I represent most closely are “Be Yourself” and having a ‘Can Do’ attitude. There have been many times in the last year when I have needed to draw on my life experiences to help me to best assist customers.  My years as a mother have given me the resilience to operate in a shift environment and switch quickly from call to call attending to the different needs of each customer with ease.

WHAT IS THE BEST STORY YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TELL AFTER A DAY AT WORK?

The best stories after work for me come from being able to help someone create the once in a lifetime holiday they have imagined but did not know how to plan, or organise travel at short notice for someone travelling urgently due to an unforeseen family emergency.  Recently a man called, he needed to travel from Christchurch to Mexico City for a family emergency leaving immediately.  The schedule was tight but we managed to book him a flight that evening.  He was surprised and delighted to be able to use his Airpoints for some of the travel and over an hour or so via email and mobile phone he was on his way.  In these situations a customer truly appreciates the knowledge that their travel will be taken care of with one phone call.

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