2020 is going to be a huge year for travel and one of the people who cares most about that in the world is Audrey Hendley, President of American Express Travel. In her role, Hendley is responsible for delivering premium travel and lifestyle (dining, entertainment) services to American Express card members using the company’s network of over 5,000 travel consultants. She also oversees the entire digital travel booking experience, travel benefits and programs, supplier partnerships, and marketing and engagement strategies for the premium card member base. She has been with the iconic company for over 20 years.
At a recent event for American Express Travel celebrating the top 2020 Trending Destinations featuring Amex ambassador Venus Williams, the veteran executive spoke with Ladders News about what makes her tick and specifically her work style.
What is the best thing about your job? What excites you most about the projects you are working on for Amex?
The best thing about my job is seeing the tremendous value that American Express Travel delivers to our Card Members. Knowing how passionate our Card Members are about travel and having the
opportunity to back their experiences and make Membership come to life, every day, is really exciting. I am continuously exploring ways that we can continue to evolve our capabilities to make our Card
Members’ travel as seamless as possible.
How would you describe your work style?
I love to connect with my team face-to-face. Although I work with colleagues around the world, I find opportunities to sit down as a group—even if via video chat—because it provides me with great insight, and I find myself learning from the questions they ask. I am very hands-on and try to lead with purpose to inspire my team to put customers first; believe it or not, I even personally read every comment card from our Card Members after their stay at one of our Fine Hotels & Resorts properties!
Beyond that, I really try to bring my whole self to work every day. I am very passionate about championing my team and empowering other women across our organization. I lead the New York
chapter of the American Express Women’s Interest Network and serve as a personal mentor/sponsor to several women.
Do you have a typical day or schedule or is it different all the time?
It certainly varies from day to day. Given my team is global, I spend a lot of time meeting with my business partners around the world, which requires traveling frequently. When I’m not traveling, I like to start my day going through emails as my day at the office is often filled with business updates, team meetings and collaborating on upcoming projects. Family is also very important to me. I have two teenagers, so whenever I’m not on the road, I make it a point to be home in time for us to all eat dinner together and catch up on our days.
Do you have any great productivity, brainstorming or business travel hacks?
Make sure you take time to disconnect and experience the place you’re visiting, even if it means extending your business trip an extra day. Travel provides an incredible opportunity for inspiration, and
your next big idea may strike while enjoying a new place.
What would be your best advice for your 25-year-old self?
Explore! The world is full of amazing places, and I have been very fortunate to travel to many of them. Travel has given me an amazing perspective on the world, and I try to bring that unique outlook with me across everything I do.
Do you have any great networking tips?
Don’t be afraid to talk to anyone. It’s nice to start with a question to easily break the ice. A great go-to question I like to ask is about any upcoming travel plans. It also helps to do your research ahead of time, and come prepared with thoughtful questions or topics you know a particular person will be interested in discussing.