From her first job in aviation in Hong Kong to her current role as the Head of Service Delivery and Operations at Qantas Loyalty, customer experience has always been at the heart of what Maria Cheung does.

“After coming to Australia, I looked for a job in aviation because I am passionate about flying, and loved talking to customers, helping them travel and see new places,” she said.

“Qantas still had a retail office in those days. I assisted walk-in customers who needed to make or change their travel bookings. It was really fulfilling to be able to help people throughout their journey.”

Thirty years and several different jobs around Qantas later, this is a focus Maria is now eager to bring to her newest role: Group E Member-elected Director at Qantas Super. The position was vacated by Hendrick van Calcar in late 2019.

Maria said she decided to stand for election to help members who hadn’t paid that much attention to their super over the years.

“Though I joined the fund on my first day at Qantas, I wasn’t actually looking at my super for a really long time. Then I realised just how much more I needed to learn about it,” she said.

“In my years within Qantas, I have worked with a lot of people who are in different stages of their career or life. Many I spoke to don’t have a great understanding of their superannuation, what they want to achieve, or the options they have to get there,” she said.

With this in mind, Maria thought joining the Board presented a good opportunity to apply her breadth of knowledge and experience to a new area.

“I started to really think about it and then decided to be brave enough to actually nominate myself.”

It’s been quite the baptism of fire for Maria as a Director.

Elected at the end of February 2020 and formally appointed to the Board on 12 March 2020, she has spent her first few months in the role attending Board briefings via Microsoft Teams as Directors have worked with the Qantas Super management team to manage the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It has been quite a challenging first few months. I thought I knew all the acronyms I needed to know after 30 years at Qantas, but super is different,” she laughed.

“But I’m enjoying it, because it just means I need to work harder in a different way.”

Maria credited the support of the Board, and in particular Chair John Atkin and CEO Michael Clancy, for helping ease her into the role.

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