Local woman unleashes SA Express
South African Express has become one of the fastest growing regional airlines in Africa. It is part of the South African Airways (SAA) alliance.
Mpadie Giddie is at the helm of the airliner’s astonishing performance in Botswana. After taking over from male predecessors through hard work and dedication and focus, she has moved the airliner’s performance from good to outstanding and is still pushing for more.
Upon appointment as the SA Express’s country representative, the airline’s performance shot to number one in the region and has been holding the spot ever since. It was not easy at first. She had to overcome self-doubt, fear and chauvinism to turn around the airliner’s sales locally, grow the brand and ignite excitement among workers and clients.
She joined SA Express as the country representative in October 2013. Her job, she explains, involves overseeing day-to-day activities of the airline locally from airport activities to sales.
Getting the SA Express to the top
Because sales ultimately makes the airliner’s business, Giddie had to work around the clock to make the results even better than where she found them by sitting down with the reservation and marketing team and making them feel part of the SA Express team. “Upon arriving here, the reservation team expressed concern that despite being the contact point between the airliner and its clients, they felt detached from the team, I had to immediately address that and make them feel welcome,” she said.
Giddie also had to get involved with the travel trade by linking up with travel agents and making sure that they get all the necessary assistance they needed from the airline. “I had to close the gap and build a marvellous relationship with the travel trade,” she said.
Because the corporate world involves a lot of travelling Giddie said she had to also look after the corporate market, by building new relationships and maintaining those that were already in existence.
When she took over there was no airport manager and she took it upon herself to juggle between manning the airliner’s main office in town and overseeing airport activities. Though it’s a lot of hard work, she managed the balance.
She then introduced an award for the best performing agencies and hosted over a small award ceremony last year. Plans are advanced for the 2015 awards ceremony.
Making it in a man’s world
Although she managed to triumph and it may seem an easy thing to do, Giddie said it takes determination and hard work to make it.
The biggest challenge, she said, is striking a balance between family and work. None of the two, she said, has to suffer at the expense of another. “There should be no compromise when it comes to this one, otherwise one is bound to fail,” she said.
With the right work ethic and business acumen, she said, a woman is just as able to be successful in any work environment as her male counterpart. “There is nothing like a man’s job,” Giddie insisted.
Interests in life
When she is not busy at work, Giddie enjoys travelling and discovering new places. She also enjoys reading.
Because she likes challenging herself, Giddie sees herself doing her thing in the next five years. Well if the airline industry was not pricey she would not rule out the possibility of owning her own airline.
Giddie is a hotelier by professional. After studying Hotel Management in Kenya, she then worked for different hotel companies locally before quitting and venturing into the furniture industry where she worked for seven years as the divisional credit control manager for the Cash bazaar group. She would then leave and join the Sefalana group where she still worked as a credit control manager before joining SA Express in 2013.