Bozena Czajkowska-Gorska of Viasat discusses travelling the world for her job, and why she still loves the aviation industry after almost 10 years in it.
Placing customer satisfaction at the heart of your work might sound “a little generic”, as Bozena Czajkowska-Gorska puts it, but it’s a big part of her role at Viasat.
As head of customer success management for Viasat Aerodocs, the company’s intelligent information software for the global aviation industry, she finds working in the aviation industry “incredibly exciting, evolving and competitive”, and she gets to travel the world to work with everyone from major airlines to small start-ups.
She told Siliconrepublic.com about the type of work she does, the things she has learned along the way, and her love for the aviation industry.
‘I’ve worked in this industry for close to a decade, through a period of substantial change both in the industry and the company itself’
What is your role within Viasat?
In essence, my role is to enable airlines to leverage and maximise our products to support their digital transformation, compliance and collaboration strategies. I feel it’s my role to be the strongest advocate for the customer within Viasat.
If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?
The truth is that very few days are the same. Our solutions are used by such a diverse range of airlines throughout the world, from some of the largest in North America and Asia to start-ups in Europe, which inherently offers variety every single day.
The common thread is always a customer-first approach to my diary – what do our customers need me to focus on today? This may seem a little generic, but the truth is my day is 100pc informed by our customers. This can mean my day starts off with an early conference call from my kitchen or a it can be a day of meetings in person in Japan, Singapore or Qatar.
What type of projects do you work on?
The projects I work on tend to support our aviation customers in their approaches to intelligent information – putting the right information in the right hands at the right time. And this absolutely takes a village by leveraging our product, design and customer support teams to support our customer requirements.
The aviation industry is incredibly exciting, evolving and competitive. Airlines are constantly trying to improve what they do and how they do it. One of the key components of this is how they approach their data, documentation and information, among other things.
What skills do you use on a daily basis?
Communication, collaboration and influencing.
The key to success – on behalf of the customer – is to help them support their information strategies for the medium to long term. It’s human nature to focus on the needs of today, but success in this game is about the ability to work everyone’s efforts and decision-making on the needs of tomorrow.
What is the hardest part of your working day?
The unforeseen. This is true for most people, but aviation is highly regulated – as it should be – and decisions have real-world ramifications. Therefore, a lot of effort goes into planning and developing long-term strategies.
But the unexpected always happens, which can throw a spanner in the works. The hardest part can be steadying the ship and getting everyone back on course.
Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the working day?
Have a clear plan but be prepared to adjust and iterate. Things change or evolve – for example, personnel move on, regulations change, budgets get squeezed, and people can often fight to stick to the agreed path at all costs as opposed to focusing on the result.
It’s key to have an end goal because any deviation from the path is just that – a deviation. How we spend our time is key to how likely we are to achieve our goals.
When you first started this job, what were you most surprised to learn was important in the role?
I always knew that collaboration was going to be a part of the job. But I think it has surprised me how collaboration has proved to be the ultimate success criteria for any level of customer engagement.
Not just between me and the customer, but between me and all the internal Viasat stakeholders. It’s a constant building of relationships, sharing understandings and, at times, compromise.
How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?
It has become more strategic and less siloed. Previously, a lot of airlines viewed their document or information strategies in isolation. They wanted to get away from paper documents and digitise – a single goal.
Increasingly, they view them holistically – as, for example, part of a broader connected cockpit strategy. There’s a constant need to be mindful of how document or information strategies roll up into broader operational or revenue strategies.
What do you enjoy most about the job?
It really is the people. I’ve worked in this industry for close to a decade, through a period of substantial change both in the industry and the company itself.
The common thread has been the people that have sustained my love for aviation.