Katherine Edmonds, e-commerce trading manager at Thomas Cook, on working for a large travel company, the excitement of networking and having empathy when managing a team.
Tell me a little about your background
I grew up in Bedfordshire with my mum, dad and sister. I studied mathematics at Royal Holloway and after uni, I postponed starting work and went travelling for six months. It was quite a scary thing, travelling around the world on my own, but it certainly ignited the travel bug in me! I worked for a couple of years in merchandising in the fashion industry and in an HR department before deciding I wanted to work in travel. Around this time Thomas Cook re-launched its graduate programme, and I started on the Commercial Graduate scheme in 2016.
When did you start working for Thomas Cook?
At the culmination of the Graduate Scheme, I was promoted to e-commerce trading manager. It was exciting to start working on multiple product lines, including cruise and city breaks, to name a few, and to have managerial responsibilities.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
“A day in the life of” is different each day. It varies from leading changes to online messages for our customers to expanding the on-site product offering. This means in the same day I can be managing stakeholder expectations, leading a redesign of a web page or negotiating product contracts with new and existing suppliers.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?
A senior leadership position at Thomas Cook, or to other leadership opportunities within the travel industry.
What are you hoping to achieve by participating in TTG’s 30 Under 30 programme?
It’s a cliche, but I love meeting inspiring people who are driven and excited to work in travel. I love working with Thomas Cook, yet I want to see what is outside of the Thomas Cook world.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Addressing people in the way you want to be spoken to, and acquiring the skill of passing on difficult news without showing rank or causing distress. My mum is absolutely amazing at this and is always my go-to source when I have to share a difficult message in a constructive way.
Where’s on your bucket list?
Canada! So many friends have been there, and the scenery looks amazing. It will hopefully be my next big holiday.