She was born in Hong Kong, went to secondary school in Singapore and then left to go to university in London. She then worked in Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, Kunming (West China) and is now based at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. She lives with her Swedish husband and 11-month-old son in Amsterdam. Winnie Tong is a prime example of a world citizen!
Inspiration and innovation
Winnie has been working for Cathay Pacific for 10 years. Since the summer of 2014, she has been based at Schiphol as the Country Manager for the Benelux and Scandinavia. 'I often feel very privileged. After all, which other job allows you to come into contact with so many different people and cultures?', she says enthusiastically.
'I find it hugely inspiring to live and work with people from different countries. Not to mention working for Cathay Pacific in different positions. I'm one of the "change agents". We innovate constantly by rotating within the company. The knowledge and experience which I gained in the previous job always allows me to bring something to my next job within the company. It keeps me sharp, inspired and creative.'
East meets West
'In my opinion, you can summarise Cathay Pacific in three words, "East meets West", as the service culture of the Far East is combined with a strong international focus. Some of our customers have very deliberately stayed with us for 30 years now. Our service philosophy is "Service straight from the heart". As a result, our people genuinely go beyond the call of duty. Customers can sense this and we also get the same back from them. Not without good reason was Cathay Pacific voted the best airline in the world in 2014.'
Schiphol is much more than an airport
Cathay Pacific moved from the centre of Amsterdam to The Base at Schiphol 20 years ago. 'It was the best decision we could have made. We now have the operations and sales team under one roof, in a location which is so easy to reach by public transport and by car. This is a unique situation for Cathay Pacific anywhere in the world and it greatly benefits the collaboration within the company. And anyway, Schiphol is far more than an airport. Where else in the world does an airport organise TEDx events or meetings for expats?'
Match with Schiphol culture
'It is great to see that the airport also wants to be a genuine community. It really adds value for all the people who work there. Incidentally, Schiphol's culture is rather like ours: innovative and service-oriented. For example, you can clearly see this match in the use of self check-ins. We are the first airline to use the common use self bag drop facilities at Schiphol. At the moment they are used as 'dedicated machines' for Arke Fly and KLM.
Team building in The Base
'Our office is in The Base. The building has everything our team needs to enjoy our work, to meet up with each other and to relax. I have seen a lot of airports, but having a nursery like CompaNanny right next to your office is really fantastic and unique anywhere in the world. Or a Christmas market, a small supermarket and a bar! In fact, I think The Base should have more typically Dutch brands and pop-up stores. The breakout room is one of the most unusual meeting places in the building. It is a relaxation area which has table football, billiards and games! Our team is definitely going to use it. Good for team building and relaxation. And do you know what the best thing is? It's completely free!'