Latest news and insights from Australia’s airports

In Profile: Jenny Kox

From a medical scientist working in the fields of microbiology and viral serology, to the Systems and Standards Manager at Perth Airport, Jenny’s career has had an unusual path. Along the way, Jenny has advanced quickly to senior positions in aviation compliance, management relief, commercial roles and overall airport management at airports across the country.

We spoke to Jenny about how her career has developed and the advice she would offer to women in airports.

How did you get your start in the airport sector?

In 2005 my husband and I decided to travel around Australia. Prior to travelling, a friend from our Aeroclub mentioned the Managers at Forrest Airport were leaving shortly. We ended up managing that airport (and six B&B houses) and it took off from there. Since then, there have been roles at Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Karratha Airport and Learmonth/Exmouth Airports as well as consulting and providing relief management to many others.

What is an average day like in your role?

As we all know no two days, or even two hours, are the same in aviation. Sometimes I’m working on procedures, other days on information documentation for our stakeholders. However, my main focus at the moment is the development and delivery of service standards which are important for our airline partners. I’m also updating our Business Continuity Plans following the return of the operations of Terminal 4 from Qantas to Perth Airport.

What advice would you give to someone who was interested in becoming a Systems and Standards Manager?

Have a head for processes and auditing and have at some knowledge of all aspects of the business. If you don’t know then make sure you ask. What has helped me most and hopefully benefited the company, is that I have come from regional airport management where you have to know everything about how the airport works. This means you think holistically about how a process or project affects other areas of the airport business.

What are the challenges you face in your role?

Surprisingly the challenges are the same as in regional airports – ensuring engaged and effective stakeholder engagement and getting agreement on projects.

What do you like most about your role?

Apart from continuing to be a part of the aviation community, being able to constructively look at a process and see how it can be improved and then effect that change.

What advice would you give to women aspiring to leadership positions in the airport sector?

You can do anything anyone else can do. Just have confidence in yourself. If in doubt or you recognise a weakness in a particular area, surround yourself with knowledgeable, competent and supportive people (the AAA is a wonderful network for this!). Finally, try not to wear your heart on your sleeve (I still need to remind myself of this on a regular basis).

What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career that you apply in your day to day work?

Reflect each day on what went well, what wasn’t so great and what you could have done to make it better. Try not to focus on the negative, but on the good.

What are some patterns you’ve noticed over the years about women at work and things they could be doing better to advance their careers?
Women tend to just get things done. A lot of this goes under the radar. We tend not to ‘blow our own trumpets’. We sometimes need to let others know what we have done and celebrate the wins/hard work.

Any other advice or thoughts to share?

Actively being involved in organisations like the AAA has provided me with a depth of knowledge and the forums to keep up with the ever-changing state of aviation. Thanks to some wonderful employers, I’ve had the great fortune to attend meetings, conferences and workshops and take on roles at a State and Board level. If there’s one thing you can do to better your career or that of your staff, it is to take advantage of all the AAA has to offer.

And on a personal note, try not to let the turkeys get you (or keep you) down.

This article was written for the Australian Airport Association’s Women in Airports Network – an online community to support the advancement of women across all aspects of airport operations.

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