On the 17th of April, Kiwi.com celebrated 10 years of its existence, however, it wasn’t only Kiwi.com that grew, but Kiwis did too! We talked with 10 of our colleagues who have made a significant impact at Kiwi.com, both professionally and personally, and learned about their successes and how these changed them throughout these years. How did they do it? How did they change 5 positions, and grow from entry-level to VP? What did it take to make this incredible achievement in only 6 -7 years?
In the previous article, you could read about our inspiring Kiwis, Stanislav, Barbara, Aliaksandra, Ondřej, and Dorota and in this one, we’re bringing another 5 incredible people! They are Eliška, Michal, Dmytro, Ana, and Lukáš, our hard-working, creative, supportive, and genuine Kiwis, who grew their careers and who continue to score wonder successes every single day.
Eliška Řezníček Dočkalová, from the Innovation Manager to the Senior Director of Customer Experience
I joined Kiwi.com in 2015 and since that time I have seen the company evolve and I have grown with it. My journey includes having worked as an Innovation Manager in the Customer Support team, as a Business Transformation & Information Management Manager, and now I work as a Senior Director of Customer Experience. I enjoy the fast-paced, ever-changing, and super challenging environment, plus the ability to learn on the job and develop myself and my career. My progression has given me the opportunity to work with extremely smart and interesting colleagues.
I was supported along the way both by my peers and my managers who helped me learn and achieve. I would say that the most challenging time for me has been combining motherhood with my passion for the work I do. That is just me putting pressure on myself and working out how to find the right balance. The company is so family-friendly though; you regularly see other parents on Kiwi.com sharing the Zoom screen with their child when the occasion arises.
My entire career has evolved around the customer. This is what is closest to my heart and every customer is important; they need to be supported in a way that works for them and I strive to make these things happen. The pandemic, of course, tested the customer experience to the greatest degree and it was not easy to tell customers that refunds would be delayed so long. Airlines implemented crisis plans to manage their own businesses through the situation and we implemented our own structure to deal with the unprecedented requirements. I love what I do – seeing the positive results of all the hard work to support customers on our NPS (customer loyalty score) keeps me going. I know we still have work to do and that is what our focus will be. I completely trust all the smart people around me – working together is how we will ensure our customers get the best experience.
Michal Šindelář, Šindy, VP of Consumer Product
I joined Kiwi.com at the beginning of 2015, originally on the Engineering side. As in any startup, we didn’t put that much attention on the official titles and I quickly took the responsibility not only for the Engineering side but also for the Product/Business one. I can say I was privileged to be part of the enormously fast-scaling company from the early stage and at the same time, be in charge of the Product expansion and building the necessary organizational charts.
Originally I focused on the Web Booking page funnel and on the go, I started to gradually increase the field of focus to the other parts of the customer journey, and then I joined the Senior Leadership Team in the VP of Product position. After several adjustments to the scope and introduction of new Product domains, I clarified my scope for the Consumer Product portfolio, covering the whole interface of our customers interacting with the core Kiwi.com service.
The most challenging part of my career at Kiwi.com was without any doubt the first two-quarters of the Covid-19 pandemic. I was sitting with the other board members at the Executive Board and stood in charge of the major adjustments of the whole post-booking product flow, requiring unprecedented alignment within the organization. At the same time, it was a sorrowful acknowledgment that we were not able to help all the impacted customers as we would love to, due to the suppliers’ policies and other circumstances. I learned very fast that in order to bring the most value to our customers and business, one needs to be people and team-oriented. One needs to be focused on building the environment for the teams that are set up for success and all the time lead by context, not by control.
Dmytro Malytskyi, from the Customer Support Agent to the Director of B2B
I celebrated my 7-th anniversary about two months ago. It is a pretty long but very exciting journey, starting as a Customer Support Agent in the very beginning, getting to the Team Manager role, and then pivoting into a Junior Business Development position. I had the opportunity to grow through various positions within BizDev until stepping into the role of Director of B2B. Kiwi.com is constantly evolving and that helped maintain the excitement throughout the years. The most important thing at all times is the atmosphere and the teams that surround you. While we are far beyond the time when there were ~50 people and everyone knew everyone, the feeling of a family has not left me, which brings a lot of comfort and readiness to take on new challenges to move forward.
Every role I ever had in the company was challenging and interesting, but my current role as Director of B2B seems to be the most complicated simply due to the fact that responsibility covers various different teams from Business Development through Product to Customer Support. On the bright side, thanks to this I am still able to learn something new every single day. In my humble opinion in order to succeed, would it be Kiwi.com or some other company you just need to have 3 things:
- Being a team player with an open mind;
- Eagerness to learn and strengthen your knowledge every day;
- Having a problem-solver mindset.
Looking at my professional growth, I think that I was blessed with great people and that was the main reason for my current success.
Ana Manso, from the Customer Support Agent to Training Team Manager
I started my Kiwi journey in 2016, as a Travel Consultant. At the time my goal was to stay for about 2 years and then move forward to my next adventure. Almost 6 years later I am still a proud Kiwi. After a short period on our Guarantee team, I joined Learning & Development as a Talent Specialist, where I still am, but currently leading one of our training teams.
Working here has allowed me to grow immensely (both professionally and personally). In our fast-paced environment, we are constantly challenged to do more and better, to find new solutions, and to stretch our skillset. I can not only come forward with new ideas but I am encouraged to do so with the full support of my managers and colleagues. This is one of the main reasons why I stayed – working here is still quite challenging and the very good examples of leadership I have had created a support system that encourages innovation and growth. I can only hope I can create the same environment for the Kiwis I lead.
Lukáš Maršálek, from the Customer Support Agent to the Operations Manager
After coming back from abroad as a part of my studies in management, I started to work within Kiwi.com to embrace what it truly means to work at an entry-level position within a thriving organization. Using my skills and knowledge, I moved into a more specialized role relatively quickly dealing with key partners and other more complex matters. After proving myself as a consistently solid and reliable member of the team with leadership potential, I was able to progress gradually through multiple levels of management positions. I have to say this was a truly rewarding career progression as it helped me appreciate all the levels and the importance of alignment across the structure. It allowed me to prove myself and show the value and constructive change I was able to consistently generate.
I was extremely lucky to have the support system I had in my superiors and peers, and my success is in huge part a reflection of them, their skills, and the virtues I was able to observe and constantly learn from. The ability to clear perception and learn is what I would say is a defining factor in a lot of peoples’ careers on top of hard work, dedication, consistency, intelligence, and at least a pinch of luck. In a world where the environment is constantly changing and requirements are never steady, staying on your toes and absorbing information efficiently is essential.