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Maria Asaad


Who run the world? Yes, that’s right, today of all days is the time to blast your favourite Beyoncé anthem that little bit louder in honour of International Women’s Day. We strive to live in a world free of discrimination and bias, a gender-equal world that celebrates achievements rather than focusing on stereotypes. 

Celebrating women’s achievements is vital in helping raise awareness of gender discrimination, especially in the workplace. That’s why we are so proud to present some of the amazingly talented women that help in keeping Heathrow the well-oiled machine it is, from Head Office all the way to the runway. 

We asked them about their time here at Heathrow and their experiences as a woman in the workplace, as well as imparting some wisdom and inspirational advice to younger women hoping to get into this huge industry.


Amanda West, Airport Operations Manager  

Amanda has been at Heathrow for close to a decade and her main job role is to have an overall sight of the airport, from performance to safety and service within the terminals. As you can imagine, no  
two days are the same for Amanda in her role, but she loves what she does and is thrilled to be doing it at a place like Heathrow, which supports and nurtures her professional growth. 

“No dream is ever too big, there will be bad and good times but remember who you are and what you want to be.”

Amanda West

Kelly Stone, Head of Airport Operations 

Kelly is responsible for leading up the team that looks after resilience, operations, punctuality and pretty much the orchestration of the entire day at Heathrow. She has been at Heathrow for an amazing 35 years but started her career at Gatwick as the only female engineer at the time. Kelly has always felt supported in her career journey and has never been made to feel to be the odd one out, even as the only woman on the team at times. She has moved around at Heathrow from engineering to solutions and operations, all the time feeling like she has had all the support, training, and development she needs to succeed in her role. 

“As women we suffer massively from imposter syndrome, but believe in your abilities and never constrict yourself in this massive industry.”

Kelly Stone

Louise Gibson, Qantas Lounge Host 

Louise started her career at Heathrow in 2001 and recalls many positive moments during her time working at the airport. She believes when it comes to equality, it is something that Heathrow has nailed, and women are never overlooked because of their gender. During her time at Heathrow, she has seen the number of women increase in more typical male-predominant roles, such as dispatching and engineering, which is a fantastic thing for Louise to see as a mum of two young girls.  

“Keep going and never give up, show your determination and let your brilliance shine.”

Louise Gibson

Katie Grigg, Head of Service Delivery and Technology 

Katie has been at Heathrow for close to 8 years and is responsible for keeping all the systems, networks, and applications running for the benefit of every colleague. Katie has always felt enabled to be herself during her time here at Heathrow, she hasn’t had to change who she is at work both in  
her strengths and vulnerabilities, which has empowered her as a woman in the industry.

“Don’t wait until you think you can do everything perfectly, give it all a go because we are all very strong and talented individuals.”

Katie Grigg


Emma Brooks, Colleague Welfare and Logistics Lead

After 4 years at Heathrow, Emma feels very fortunate that 90% of her managers have been women. She has found them to be very inspiring and great leaders for her to be mentored by, which has taught her a lot during her time at Heathrow. Emma is also the deputy lead of Altitude and has played a key role in several important projects, such as the introduction of free period products in staff bathrooms.

“Don’t stay in your comfort zone, get out there and grab any opportunity you can. Life’s too short, so grab those opportunities whenever you can.”

Emma Brooks


Caroline Knight, Head of Technology for Corporate  

Caroline has worked for Heathrow for 13 years and recalls when first starting in the IT industry how she was the only woman in her cohort, which she did find challenging at times. She now finds herself to not be the only woman in the room with many fellow female colleagues in her team, so things have definitely improved and continue to move in the right direction. 

“Go for it, don’t even think about the fact that you’re a woman, there’s lots of opportunities out there so don’t let anything hold you back and aim for the stars!”

Caroline Knight


Rhiannon Dowdall, Finance Director 

Rhiannon joined Heathrow as a Finance Analyst back in 2012 and 11 years later is now a Finance Director. When Rhiannon first started, she noticed how women were the minority, making up about  
20% of the workforce, which has since massively evolved. She has always felt championed and supported during her time at Heathrow with some of her greatest allies in the organisation being men. 

“Never be afraid to share how ambitious you are.”

Rhiannon Dowdall


Rinsu Varghese – Asset Coordinator 

It’s only been 6 months since Rinsu joined Heathrow but has already felt an immense amount of encouragement and support, especially from management in the company. She expresses how her team is actually female-heavy as an example of how the company champions women in the industry. 

“Never step back from anything for being a woman, women can do anything and everything in this world.”

Rinsu Varghese

Efna Lafortune, Qantas Lounge Supervisor  

Efna has been at Heathrow for several years with her most recent role at Qantas for the past year being a challenging yet enriching one. She is grateful for her fellow female colleagues' support that help her love her job even more than she already does. 

“Get out of your shell and you will find the confidence to do anything.”

Efna Lafortune


Mandy Bhythian, Delta Operations Service Manager 

Mandy has been at Heathrow for 17 years and looks after all of the operations at Delta, from check in to when the plane takes off. Mandy has never found her gender to be an issue at work and has  
always felt supported and encouraged within the industry. 

"A woman can achieve as much as a man.”

Mandy Bhythian


Fumiyo Hase, Japan Airlines  

Fumiyo has worked for Japan Airlines for the past 5 years and is usually stationed in Haneda National Airport in Tokyo but has been at Heathrow since the start of the year. She has found her time at Heathrow to be extremely pleasant and enriching, witnessing how hard fellow female colleagues work in and around the airport, and have shown her extra support in her role during particularly busy times at the airport. 

“Women can do anything, so if you want to do something special or specific, just go for it!

Fumiyo Hase


Shivani Patel, Supply Operations and Assurance

Shivani is coming up to almost 5 years at Heathrow, and even though she has sometimes found her time in the industry quite challenging, especially during her time in the mostly male-dominated engineering department, she has always found Heathrow beyond accommodating. She is particularly fond of the gender equality and inclusion & diversity networks at Heathrow. One of her proudest achievements at the company is her participation in providing free sanitary products for female employees.  

“Speak up when you feel like you need to, stay true to yourself and be authentic in everything you do.”

Shivani Patel


Manuella Pestana, Environmental Scientist 

Manuella has been at Heathrow for 9 months and is mainly responsible for caring for the surrounding biodiversity sites and green areas around the airport. Manuella has felt supported at Heathrow right off the bat from her initial interview, she expresses how everything from the recruitment process to feeling supported in her daily role has been amazing. 

“Women invest a lot and that is a special thing in this industry and beyond.”

Manuella Pestana

Emma Russell, Operational Resilience Manager 

Emma has been at Heathrow for 15 years and has previously worked in engineering which is a very male dominant industry, however, she has always felt supported in her career as a woman and never felt halted in her progression as a professional in the field or industry. 

“Network and get yourself out there, people love to share in success.” 

Emma Russell

Hannah Payne, Operational Resilience Coordinator 

Hannah has been at Heathrow for close to a year and it is her first experience of being managed by a fellow female which she has found fantastic. She feels very supported and very fortunate to have a very  
encouraging manager and team at Heathrow. 

“I’ve always felt supported by my female manager, and we should always strive to support one another.” 

Hannah Payne


Are you inspired and intrigued by the idea of a career at Heathrow? If so, then take a look at our careers site with all our available opportunities and let your career take off in a new and exciting direction.