a great story comes up and bites you on the fanny.
During an early February
‘hour of power’ inside Delta Airlines
headquarters in Atlanta, we spoke to six women with
different air cargo jobs and were delighted to discover
the brilliance, dedication, and sense of teamwork
at the carrier.
Our format was unorthodox,
with a set up that included the proviso:
“Assume the reader
will allow you just a few minutes to tell your story . . . what would you like them to
Each of these powerful
women sat with me, one after another, to answer a
few questions, and their responses were delivered
in a relaxed, confident manner, clear as a ringing
And how did I feel after
What a wake up call!
I discovered some different
voices in air cargo, all of which just happen to be
women. These women are not only ready for their close-up,
they’re also well onto writing a team playbook
for air cargo leadership in the present and future.
once said a “rising tide lifts all boats.”
Delta Airlines Vice
President Commercial Operations Kristen Shovlin began
her career at DL 30 years ago and admits that even
today in 2016, there is “rarely a dull moment.”
Keeping track of several vital teams at Delta Cargo
requires not only a good sense of navigation, but
also a keen eye on the horizon.
“I began as a
reservation agent but today really love air cargo
and the challenges, which include looking after several
vital teams that report to me,” she said.
about keeping track and working closely with Ray (Curtis,
Delta Cargo Chief),” Kristen said.
“I work with some
truly professional people that run the gamut of our
product offering, including our team which provides
servicing and support for our B2B products.
“We also keep
close touch with our key customers via the DL Cargo
“Part of my time
addresses our marketing and sales group; it can be
quite stimulating thinking into various creative plans
and strategies. “I also look after the activities
of our Data and Analytics and Innovation Team, and
also spend some time with Training and Development,”
Kristen Shovlin said.
“No there are
not personal favorites as such,” Kristen smiles,
“my takeaway is addressing each function with
support for every other activity at Delta Cargo.”
“Air cargo is
fascinating and complex, and not for the faint of
“The cargo business
challenges you beyond expectation and is never dull.
“Cargo is all
about customer value.”
spending some time with Delta in Atlanta, one discovers
there are several people that continued their careers
after starting at Northwest Airlines.
That includes many who
furthered their careers alongside the last big boss
at NWA, the illustrious Richard Anderson, who has
served as CEO of Delta since the merger of the two
carriers on October 29, 2008.
Kristin Colvile has
been with the company 23 years. During this time,
she has worked in Hong Kong in charge of Passenger
Marketing for Northern Asia for Northwest, which meant
going toe-to-toe and winning market share during a
tough and competitive Japanese market.
NWA operated the largest
USA flag combination carrier fleet of main deck B747F
all-cargo freighters to and from the USA and mainland
Japan and onto to the rest of Asia.
it’s little wonder that in 2016 Kristen fits
quite comfortably as Delta Cargo’s Managing
Director of Revenue Management & Sales Development,
responsible for planning and strategy, capacity inventory,
sales development, and alliances.
“The airline industry
has allowed me the opportunity to develop my interests
and skills at the same time via a varied menu of occupations,”
“I worked in an
offshore reservations call center in Singapore, served
as a manager in Amsterdam, and handled revenue management
of USA domestic passengers.
“Having seen quite
a mixture of situations and people in my experience,
I can say the Delta team seems to like each other.
People here are always willing to help.
“My job is to
bring focus to customers and related operational performance.
“The team at Delta
makes air cargo look better every day.”
has worked at Delta Cargo for the better part of the
past year and has direct responsibility of a team
that spends all day and night talking to the public.
She is the overseer of not one, but two Delta Call
“Delta Cargo is
100 percent dedicated to customer service, no excuses,”
“We learned by
operating the NWA ‘Elite Desk’ in Minneapolis—a
pioneering effort in dedicated customer service—to
train people to always directly address the needs
of different types of customers and to always keep
“Our 135 people
in two call centers are on the line for the best service
in air cargo every day,” Miriam declared.
Reynolds Bailey comfortably moved into her current
and absolutely vital position as General Manager Revenue
Planning and Analysis in mid April 2015.
She came to Delta having
spent 14 years in finance, and although she majored
in Business Management at Howard University and worked
at The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in the Statistics
Department, Bonita has had an interesting and varied
career. Bonita also worked in North Carolina for US
Airways as her first airline job in 1997.
“I must admit,
with several options in life, I simply got hooked
on working at an airline, and coming to Delta confirmed
my choice for a lifetime.
“Cargo is the
mother of invention.
“But cargo revenue
planning and forecasting can sometimes be a crystal
are the best, because we truly respect and treat each
other like family.”
General Manager Cargo
Sales for Latin America, Georgia, & Florida, Priscilla
Byrne is an effusive sales type that whirls into a
room with a knowing smile, instantly lifting the conversation
beyond a simple dissertation on capabilities and connections.
The message is that
Delta Cargo is looking for all the business.
Priscilla, who once
worked for Mesaba Airlines as Cargo Operations Manager,
certainly raises the bar.
“We are always
“The best surprise
is no surprise, so Delta Cargo is dedicated to keeping
everybody in the loop from acceptance to delivery.
“From the ground
up, our technology and effort is always there.
“We never confuse
altitude with attitude.
“Keeping the customer
first with good information is a simple yet undeniable
strength of our airline company.
“I am excited
about the Latin American market, where we work to
earn our wings everyday.
to Sao Paulo to Medellin, we have been given a wide
canvas to build and enhance our cargo service.
“Our message to
shippers here is ‘try us.’
of our global system and the professionalism of our
people is winning shippers for the better.”
Clayton, General Manager, Vertical Sales, migrated
to the U.S. from Japan.
Alex has seen the other
side of shipping, having begun her career in Ocean
shipping, based in Los Angeles.
Lucky for air cargo,
her passion for travel and the lack of scheduled ocean
passage (unless you count cruise & container ships
or tramp steamers) led to an airline career.
At Delta Cargo, Alex
deals in product development for high-yield consignments.
Smart thinking has led
Alex to treat Delta Cargo as part of a whole entity,
with the passenger department “always part of
For example, Alex says
she worked closely with passenger sales to create
branding ambassadors for cargo.
the forwarder shipper dynamic,” Alex says.
a strong partnership with forwarders, our key customers.
“To that end we
are developing pharma and express products that closely
align our offering in cooperation with our shipping
Alex is passionate about
a discipline of Organizational Effectiveness. She
leads the Employee Engagement Team at Delta Cargo
and invests much of her spare time coaching her junior
employees to aid their professional development.
Alex earned her MBA
from the University of Denver and Master of Education
and Human Resource Studies from Colorado State University.
She is also a Six Sigma
“It is not one
size fits all at Delta Cargo.
provides the capability to be as unique as many of
our business partners, “Alex Clayton insists.