Meet Ms. Raya Gorospe from Lufthansa Cargo
AFL recently met with Ms. Raya Gorospe, Regional Manager from Lufthansa Cargo.
Could you tell us about your experiences working in the airline industry?
I was in the Passenger Department of Lufthansa in the Ticketing Department before I got in Lufthansa’s 2-year Management Training. This program was partly held in Germany and partly in the Philippines. Aftewards, I have worked in management roles within Lufthansa Cargo for several years at a time in Manila in cargo sales, Hong Kong in customer service, Ho Chi Minh City in sales and operations, and now in Bangkok. I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to know these different stations, especially Hong Kong which is a very important cargo hub in Asia. I am now the Regional Manager for Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Myanmar.
What attracted you to work in this industry?
It was more of a language interest when I started with Lufthansa as I knew some German from my University. I was also reading a lot about European history and culture. When Lufthansa accepted me for their management training program, I had a chance to work in different departments in the airline in a few countries. My favorite department to work in was cargo and flight operations – from the rattling sound of the loaded airline pallets as they are transferred to the dollies; to watching the freighters closely as they park; all the way to operating the joystick for positioning cargo pallets in the aircraft. The colleagues were very disciplined, committed to their work and there was a lot of camaraderie and fun. The clients I got to know were like family, most of them worked in the industry for decades, who were very welcoming. The female Bosses I got to know were very inspiring, who made their way up in a then-predominantly-male industry.
What do you think are the most important skills that are essential to your position?
The clients are requiring faster response times and demand high quality; while at the same time requirements on security and safety are getting more stringent. The colleagues and I have to be on our toes, we have to adapt to the changes and requirements of the industry. Being responsible for different countries, it is essential for me to build good teams per country and invest training in people. Transitioning to a new environment and new cultures is always one of the most important tasks I face. Aside from the usual challenges of managing teams, I have to learn the culture to understand how the team works, and to get their support. To be able to do so, I need to listen, be open minded and be flexible.
What challenges or difficulties do you face when having to adapt to the different cultures in this region?
I find that Southeast Asian cultures can be as diverse as much as European cultures. The language is definitely a major player. The differentiation in cultures provides me a chance to share processes and ideas from other markets that are different from the local ones; and at the same time I need to understand why some concepts do not apply to all markets. The whole process makes me more mature and teaches me that listening is one of the best traits. My colleagues are my best teachers. Seeing our ideas blend into something new is gratifying.
What do you think are the benefits of having the chance to work in several countries?
I have been to countries with great food – whenever I travel around, I sometimes crave for Dim Sum in Bangkok, or Vietnamese Pho in Hong Kong, and Tom Yum Goong in Manila. And all of them, when I am sometimes in Germany!