Spotlight on… Janina Meininger, Business Development Manager at CHI Deutschland Cargo Handling.

Welcome Back to CargoForwarder Global’s ‘Spotlight On…’ Series: Exploring the Appeal of the Air Cargo Industry Through Stories of Young Talent. Today, we’re talking to Janina Meininger, Business Development Manager at CHI Deutschland Cargo Handling.

Janina Meininger: “a broad network is crucial in our industry.” – Photo: private

CFG: What brought you to the air cargo industry? How did you discover it?

JM: I´ve always had a passion for aviation and entered the aviation industry in 2016 when I started the dual study program B.A. Aviation Management in cooperation with Fraport AG at Frankfurt Airport. Besides my experiences in general aviation, my perception of air cargo was quite limited. It was during my time at Frankfurt Airport that I developed an interest for the air cargo industry and therefore did my masters degree in Global Logistics. During my studies I had the opportunity to connect with the right individuals, paving the way to my current role as Business Development Manager at CHI Group.

CFG: Why would you recommend others to join?

JM: From my experience, our industry offers the opportunity to work in an international environment and to benefit from the diversity of a multicultural workplace. Additionally, the air cargo industry is known for its fast-paced work environment, which presents ongoing new challenges and ensures that things never get dull. Given that many companies in our industry have a global presence, it also enables international rotation programs for those who are passionate about travelling.

CFG: What strategies do you propose for raising the awareness of our industry and to make it more attractive to individuals with no prior experience in Air Cargo?

JM: Given the nature of the air cargo industry being mostly invisible when it comes to attracting new talent, I believe there are several actions that individual organizations can take to enhance their attractiveness and visibility. Firstly, companies may establish partnerships with educational institutions such as universities, colleges, and vocational schools in form of specialized programs, internships, and workshops. Moreover, highlighting the company’s range of career opportunities empowers candidates to find positions that align perfectly with their skills and interests. Additionally, offering rotation programs and traineeships allows young talents to gain practical experience across various areas of the company. Lastly, companies may offer competitive benefits and perks such as opportunities to work internationally, gain experience in different countries, flight benefits, and international mobility programs. These offerings can motivate to choose the air cargo industry and foster long-term commitment among employees.

CFG: What strategies do you propose for integrating individuals with no prior experience in Air Cargo?

JM: In my opinion, Training, Traineeships and Networking are effective strategies to integrate individuals with no prior experience into the air cargo industry. Training is crucial to give insights into specific processes, so called “basic cargo trainings” can help to provide orientation within the industry by teaching the basics of the industry. Traineeships enable young people to explore different facets of the respective company and to find the right department for themselves, while also gaining an understanding of basic processes and ideas. A positive example how networking can help to integrate individuals with no prior experience in Air Cargo is the initiative of the Air Cargo Community Frankfurt e.V. with their YACE initiative. YACE (Young Air Cargo Executives) supports young individuals in navigating the complex world of air cargo and in connecting with like-minded peers from other air cargo companies.

CFG: What are the most important skills needed in air cargo?

JM: I believe that flexibility is a critical requisite in our industry, given that air cargo operations operate around the clock and extend the typical nine to five workday. Furthermore, knowledge in multiple languages is relevant, as our operations involve collaboration with colleagues and stakeholders from all around the world. Additionally, the ability to adapt to the fast-paced environment of our industry is crucial. As already noted, our industry is dynamic and frequently presenting new challenges that require quick adaptation and problem-solving skills.

CFG: Where do you find support doing your job? Any training / networking / mentoring you would recommend?

JM: At CHI Group, I am fortunate to work closely with the senior management of which some view themselves as mentors and dedicate lots of time to my development and support me in my career path. This commitment greatly motivates me to excel daily. Additionally, networking events provide an opportunity for me to engage with like-minded people and broaden my connections. In my opinion a broad network is crucial in our industry, as most challenges necessitate the collaboration of different stakeholders.

CFG: What do you do, when you’re not working in air cargo?

JM: One passion of mine is traveling, which allows me to experience adventures and explore new cultures, people and landscapes. I particularly enjoy international cuisine, to always try new things and challenge my taste buds. Additionally, I do really enjoy cycling in my everyday life to clear my mind after a hectic day.

CFG: Janina, thank you for your time and the input.

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