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How to run...and fly!

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Most women who have climbed to the top of the corporate ladder have been trailblazers in one way or another. Chris Browne, managing director of Thomson Airways, knows this better than most.

Twenty years ago, the Northern Ireland native ruffled more than a few feathers when the president of Iberia Airlines handpicked her to be general manager for the UK and Ireland. Not only was she the first non-Spanish GM, she was also the first woman and, at just 30, the youngest person ever to have held the position.

The cherry on top was that her first position at Iberia had been in the Regent Street ticket office only five years earlier. “No one wanted me to have the job,” she says. “Not the senior management team in Madrid and not the middle management in London. And part of me didn’t want to do it, either. I thought, ‘Hang on, what makes you think a wee girl from Strabane can do this?’ But if it hadn’t worked out, at least I would have given it a go. It’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.”

Twenty years ago, the Northern Ireland native ruffled more than a few feathers when the president of Iberia Airlines handpicked her to be general manager for the UK and Ireland. Not only was she the first non-Spanish GM, she was also the first woman and, at just 30, the youngest person ever to have held the position.

The cherry on top was that her first position at Iberia had been in the Regent Street ticket office only five years earlier. “No one wanted me to have the job,” she says. “Not the senior management team in Madrid and not the middle management in London. And part of me didn’t want to do it, either. I thought, ‘Hang on, what makes you think a wee girl from Strabane can do this?’ But if it hadn’t worked out, at least I would have given it a go. It’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.”

Twenty years ago, the Northern Ireland native ruffled more than a few feathers when the president of Iberia Airlines handpicked her to be general manager for the UK and Ireland. Not only was she the first non-Spanish GM, she was also the first woman and, at just 30, the youngest person ever to have held the position.

The cherry on top was that her first position at Iberia had been in the Regent Street ticket office only five years earlier. “No one wanted me to have the job,” she says. “Not the senior management team in Madrid and not the middle management in London. And part of me didn’t want to do it, either. I thought, ‘Hang on, what makes you think a wee girl from Strabane can do this?’ But if it hadn’t worked out, at least I would have given it a go. It’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.”