“Creating a safe space for people in my team is a key”
Lucie Stadtherr is our Operational Manager who has been with Kiwi.com for 6 years. She grew up in Orlová city in the Czech Republic, a city famous for its mining history and heavy industry. Lucie claims it’s not the best place to live in and mentioned she still remembers the dust and metal along the city.
“I moved to Brno for love, the love happened to be my husband, and Brno is my home. If you would have told me a couple of years ago that I would achieve this much and would be following this career, I would laugh out loud, not believing you for a word,” said Lucie.
Read on to learn more about Lucie’s career at Kiwi.com, her responsibilities at work, her leadership style, values, and more.
Why did you choose Kiwi.com and the travel industry as such?
I wouldn’t exactly say I chose to work in the travel industry, the travel industry chose me. It was such a coincidence to end up at Kiwi.com. I graduated from the Faculty of Education and I wasn’t certain I wanted to be a teacher. While I was deciding what to do next, I took a job at a small cafe and one evening, a friend of mine came in and talked about working at Kiwi.com. I immediately got attracted to super cool offices, interesting work and industry, friendly people, and lots of benefits. Basically, it was all you can desire from a job. I searched for open roles, applied, and happened to be hired for an entry position on the Order Processing team.
After 6 years and the entry position you got back then, now you’re holding an Operations Manager position. How has it been so far for you?
After the Order Processing team, I joined the Claims team as a Junior Claims agent, grew to the Senior one and then became a team manager. The next step was a Junior Operations Manager for the Brno site and today I’m the Operations Manager for the entire Claims unit.
When I got hired I never thought I could grow this much and learn so many things in my career. I don’t usually spend time thinking about the past and recapping how this all happened, so I appreciate the chance to do it now!
Kiwi.com is an incredibly dynamic environment, more so since we started working on the refunds backlog that happened during the pandemic. We work really hard; I’m so immersed in work that the whole week flies by like the blink of an eye. This environment is a great training tool for improvement for the decision-making process and priority sorting. Soon enough, you become an agile ninja combating all problems.
On the other hand, I’m not that good at recognizing my own achievements so I can always think of ways to do it better next time. What I’m really proud of is my team’s level of engagement and the unique energy we share while working on our tasks. Overall, the operational role experience has been great for me so far; it’s continued learning and exposure to new situations. It is a big responsibility and I’m very much aware of it and also extremely grateful for this opportunity.
Can you describe your day in the role of an Operational Manager?
Every day is different. Mornings are about reviewing performance results from the previous day, reporting incoming volumes and understanding their impact on the Claims team overall workload. Based on the trends, we allocate a workforce to ensure we have adequate coverage. A day continues with numerous different meetings. These are huddles with my direct reports, meetings with operational managers from other lines of business, or weekly results reviews with vendor team representatives. There are also various other meetings dedicated to the specific problems that have to be resolved, or projects that have to be delivered. A big part of a week is ad hoc tasks and emergencies.
Can you describe your job in 5 words?
Dynamic, hard-work, meetings, refunds, multitasking.
How to become an Operational Manager, meaning what advice would you offer someone who wants to become one?
When I became a team manager there was no training program for me, as we were still quite a small company, and everything was happening really fast. I was chosen to be a manager from one day to the next! It was challenging but also a big learning opportunity for me; I trusted my gut feeling and led the team according to the most basic human principles.
In my opinion, open communication is a key;I would always advise people to respect each other, support their needs, be open to ideas and suggestions, and create a safe space for people around you.
What do you value most when it comes to your team members?
Vital energy, constructive discussions, being completely honest and supportive. Altogether I dare to say I’m surrounded by great personalities, each and every one different, but the whole picture is super colorful and I can’t take my eyes away from its beauty.
You mentioned you have quite challenging work. What do you enjoy doing in your free time to disconnect from work?
Climbing, climbing, climbing… I’m a passionate rock climber, and I tend to spend a lot of my free time training and climbing rocks, as it’s a lot of fun for me. This also mirrors my persona in day-to-day life because I don’t like failing and my hard work pushes me to better results. Sometimes I’m not in a good condition to perform at the top level and I have to accept that today is not the day. Apparently, climbing for me has more to it than just muscles.
Are you into traveling?
I would like to travel to more destinations, but I take all my vacations climbing; for this purpose, European countries are great for me. France is my favorite country for climbing, followed by Germany, Austria, Greece, and Spain. Simultaneously, a couple of weeks back I returned from India, from my very first business trip. It was a thrilling experience and I am looking forward to my next trip. Thanks to Kiwi.com, I’m starting to explore the world indeed!
Interested in boosting your career at Kiwi.com and being Lucie’s colleague and a member of her team? Hurry up and check out our open positions!