Head of Uber for Business, Georgia Foster believes a strong company culture is a vital part of a company’s ideology. Georgia is one of the presenters at the upcoming Illuminate event in Melbourne. She has lead sales, product and marketing teams across Australia, New Zealand, the US and Latin America, including working for innovative global organisations like LinkedIn and Uber.
“Company culture is not just about providing stimulating workspaces and employee benefits,” Georgia said.
“Although in the Uber offices, we do offer things like yoga, mindfulness classes, gym and health insurance subsidies. A big part of our company culture is about fostering an entrepreneurial spirit.”
Georgia makes a valid point given that the candidate pool is so large and the ability so high when it comes to jobs in Silicon-Valley-type organisations.
“Uber for Business prides itself on a company-wide culture of encouraging innovation, autonomy and customer obsession, and that mantra is reflected in the types of people they look for to join the team.
“I think back to that moment in the career’s hall at my school when there were four careers profiled - a doctor, a lawyer, an architect and an accountant. Although I did complete an architecture degree, I ended up following my strengths, which were in the areas of sales, marketing and using my entrepreneurial mindset. These days employees have such a vast array of career opportunities. They can choose careers based on what their skill sets are, not what career box they might fit into. Tech and Silicon Valley companies barely existed back then and now they’re some of the most exciting careers out there.”
She also points out the uniqueness of working for organisations that are, although monumentally successful, still newer businesses, with a fluidity of structure and process not found in more traditional global behemoths.
“Working for a start-up within a start-up, which essentially is what Uber for Business is, is not only challenging but inspiring. There’s no textbook on how to build a ridesharing organisation, especially one that works with businesses. We are learning all the time and in an incredible environment.”
Georgia said that as a leader, what she loved most was that when she hired an innovative and motivated team, there were never any moments where she needed to dictate how they worked.
“I’ll simply pull the team together and say let’s work out how we’re going to do this. The profile of the people that we hire are those that are driven to build this business, are willing to adapt, and open to change and that’s what makes them so exciting to work with.”
According to Georgia, the company also embraces the concept of a collaborative office environment exceptionally well.
“One of the things that completely wows me about the organisation is the calibre of the people I work with. We are not only working for one of the most innovative, forward-thinking companies in the world, but every person is so incredibly intelligent and collaborative.
“Here at Uber for Business we value hard work, humour, empathy, collaboration and above all, customer obsession. What that breeds is a fantastic group of people who hold themselves accountable for their own success and brilliance, and innovative products that change the way our customers move and feed the people they care most about.”
“The potential of biometrics in the air transport sector has been seriously considered for some time, but now that it’s gaining traction across the industry, the technology is starting to have a truly transformative impact,” according to the Executive Chairman of CAPA - Centre for Aviation, Peter Harbison.
Peter heads up the world’s largest publisher of business-oriented commercial aviation information and analysis, covering the global airport, air navigation services and airline industries.
Peter believes biometrics will play a key role in streamlining and automating the passenger experience in airports.
“Qantas and Sydney Airport recently announced a trial of facial recognition technology for the first stage of their ‘couch-to-gate’ biometrics strategy,” he said. “This could eventually mean that passengers can pass through the stages of automated check-in, bag drop, lounge access and boarding using only their face as a means of identification.
“These are great innovations and the whole area of facilitating movement through airports is undergoing a revolution.
“Leveraging facial recognition technology is a great step in the right direction, however standardising procedures between airlines, airports and government bodies will be the biggest challenge to rolling out new techniques for passenger processing.”
Peter said that this meant that organisations like the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association and other regional associations would begin to play a much greater part in the standardisation of these technologies.”
Developments in cyber security
Peter said the deployment of new and emerging technologies, and the ongoing digitalisation of the air transport industry has and will continue to present a number of challenges.
“Keeping systems secure is one of the biggest tasks faced by both airports and airlines,” he said.
“In fact, according to one of the world’s leading specialists in air transport information technology, SITA - 95% of airlines and 96% of airports plan to invest in research and programs to tackle cyber security initiatives over the next few years.
Peter added that a key commercial area was personal data, but he said the safety areas were probably of the deepest concern, as airlines and airports used legacy systems of variable integrity.
“I suspect expenditures in this area will have to be increased once one or two glaring lapses are exposed. Action is critical as the airline system tends to be a continuum, so if there’s one weak link, the whole system can fail.”