spoke to four very important women at American Airlines Cargo, all of
whom are occupying key posts in the cargo chain; Trish Hollinrake serves
as Vice President, American Airlines Cargo Operations; Geri Cristel
is Managing Director, Operations, Chicago; Taryn Phillips is Managing
Director, Operations, Los Angeles; and Jeannie Driscoll is Managing
Director, Operations, Miami.
to our American Airlines edition of Women in Air Cargo.
asked Trish Hollinrake, VP of Cargo Operations, what were the absolute
top priorities in air cargo operations.
top cargo priorities continue to be reliable, consistent performance
and a positive customer experience. Operationally, we are spending significant
time and resources evaluating our processes and procedures. Our objectives
are to streamline handling, challenge the status quo to identify and
implement efficiencies to the operation and to leverage technologies
that enable AA to better manage the logistics flow from end-to-end.
“AA Cargo Operations is also redefining the role our field teams
play, and continues to implement organizational changes designed to
focus on the customer and to keep customers proactively informed while
shipments are being handled through our network—whether via a
phone call, an email, or online resources. In addition, we are striving
to increase visibility of freight movement through every step of the
shipment lifecycle. Our goal is to provide the very best air cargo service
while ensuring our customers have the information they need to know
that their shipments are being handled to their satisfaction.”
We asked Geri Cristel, Managing Director of Operations in Chicago for
AA Cargo, how, in a male dominated business, she has managed to grab
the attention of the large group of individuals of which she is in command,
and how she has held their interest.
I don’t ever think about gender in business transactions. Experience,
job knowledge, and keeping up to date on changes in our industry are
the keys to success in the cargo business. My background at two airlines,
3 cities, and several freight forwarders in the last 30 years, in cargo
operations and sales, has helped me to understand the obstacles our
customers face every day. Cargo is somewhat unique in that people tend
to stay in the business for a long time; I have known many of our customers
for over 20 years. They sometimes change company affiliation, but the
rapport that has been established always remains.
asked Taryn Phillips, Managing Director of Operations in Los Angeles,
how and where she entered into cargo operations, and where she would
be if she weren’t where she is today.
“My career with American Airlines began in 2001 working at DFW
Passenger Sales. In 2003, I learned about an opening for a Cargo Sales
Account Manager position at LAX and thought it would be an exciting
opportunity to see another side of our business. I progressed to Global
Account Manager, Southwest Regional Sales Manager, and then to my current
role as MD Cargo Ops LAX.
given the chance to start over, I would definitely do it all over again!
This is such a unique industry, with so much opportunity and diversity.
The people I have met, experiences we have shared, and the relationships
that we built are priceless!
I had to choose something other than air cargo, I would probably look
for a role in another part of the transportation industry. I love to
travel and I love the global nature of our business, so I can't imagine
straying too far!”
asked what she thought women, as opposed to men, bring to air cargo,
her response was fair and honest: “I don't believe that either
men or women are inherently limited in what they can accomplish, but
we go about solving problems in different ways. By working together,
we are able to look at challenges from new viewpoints and come up with
solutions that we might have otherwise missed.”
finally, we spoke with Jeannie Driscoll, Managing Director of Operations
in Miami, who is responsible for one of the most important stations
for American Airlines Cargo. Curious as we were about the pressure such
a job might entail, Jeannie seems to handle it all while remaining cool
as a cucumber.
is very exciting and challenging for me to lead one of American's largest
and most complex Cargo operations in the system. My hope for my legacy
is that I was respected by the employees I had the privilege to work
with over the years, that I was a manager that cared about the people,
was always fair and honest with them, and made contributions to the
Company that had a positive impact on the operation at AA.”
amount of time and work such an operation entails had us wondering about
family, children, and the possibilities, if any, for a social life.
is an operations driven business that can require 24 hours/day oversight.
Therefore, for me it is about, first, setting realistic boundaries at
work and at home with my family. Secondly, and most importantly, staying
focused on those boundaries and having the support of the Company and
my family has allowed me to achieve the balance I need in my professional
and personal life.”