‘My greatest achievement so far? Taking the plunge to change my career’

I’m Claire Farrugia and I’m 31 years old. When I was in my teens, I wanted to become a pilot as travelling was always my passion, but things didn’t work out. Since I was also passionate about writing and asking questions, I decided to study communications and English at university, and eventually worked as a journalist for eight years.
Covid triggered the feeling that I could be doing something more, even though at that time I couldn’t decide what this was. However, I was determined that if a new opportunity arose, I would give it a go. Basically, this is how my MIA journey started.

I saw a vacancy post on Facebook and decided to apply. When I was a journalist and used to come to the airport for coverage, I always thought that I would love to work at the airport. I did not only change my job but a whole career path which wasn’t an easy decision to take.

How has your experience at MIA been so far?

I must say that I have been very happy these past three months. It has been a learning curve and I’m loving it here. There’s a certain vibe at this workplace brought by people who are happy, eager to work and learn. I didn’t imagine that I would fit in so easily, but I immediately felt this sort of loyalty and passion about this Company as if I have been working here for three years and not three months.

What’s your role at MIA?

I’m a traffic development executive, which has nothing to do with being stuck in a junction but with the development of travel routes. We work and build relationships with airlines so that we understand each other’s plans and needs for the future. Basically, we work on developing as many routes as possible in the most sustainable way to ensure that we’re not only connected as an island but that there is sustainable growth. We constantly monitor what is happening locally and internationally to get an understanding of what the industry is going through and what is happening on the ground. You can’t decide on something in a vacuum. So even though it’s quite a specific role, it’s also very wide and, in fact, we work with a lot of other departments within MIA. This is something I like because I’m constantly meeting new people.

What has been your proudest achievement so far?

I was working with a reputable newspaper; I was doing well and my career was very successful and promising. Usually, I’m the kind of person who plays it safe. I would describe the plunge I took to change my career as my greatest achievement so far.

What was the most important piece of advice you’ve received?

It was a professor at university who gave me the best advice ever. I told him that I was going to do a full-time internship while also studying full-time. I thought that he would oppose but he just told me: “Wherever you go, whoever you meet, always treat the person in the lowest level and the person in the highest level, with the same exact respect.” This I always keep in mind.

Since we’re celebrating Women’s Day, is there a particular woman who inspires you? How would you define an inspiring woman?

As an international inspiring woman, I would say Malala. She’s showing that even at a young age you can still inspire people. On a more personal level, I must choose my grandmother who’s 85. She was a teacher and graduated when she was around 20 years old. She’s always sharing with me her stories about the boarding school she used to attend and how she had to stop working because she got married and had kids. We’re very close and her experiences in life inspire me. She lived through very challenging times for women and she still gets very angry when she sees that women’s rights are still an issue in some cases. I always go to her before taking important decisions.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Embracing Equity.’ How would you define equity?

Clearly, a lot of work still needs to be done on this,  especially as we move towards a society were ensuring that there is equality is simply not enough anymore. I think pushing for better equity is also crucial as it is more long-term and ensures injustices are challenged and addressed in a fairer way.