The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) is a community of the world’s leading airlines, suppliers and related companies dedicated to elevating the level of the airline passenger experience. Leading the charge since 2009 is APEX’s Executive Director, Katie Geraghty Goshgarian. While Katie’s entry into the aviation industry was, as she describes it, a bit by happenstance, she brought with her a robust background in association management that is helping her to grow and shape the association and industry.
We caught up with Katie to explore how she is supporting innovation within the aviation industry, through her leadership at APEX:
Viasat: What is innovation to you? Katie: Innovation is the solution to a problem that an individual, customer, or even generation didn’t know they needed, but cannot imagine without once it has been realized - especially if it solves a complex problem simply.
What drives your passion for aviation? Katie: I am passionate about travel and the opportunity aviation affords global citizens to see how other people/communities live and how they can connect with them like never before. Aviation makes the world smaller and helps us to see just how similar we all are – which personally drives and motivates me.
What does your association do that makes you most proud? Katie: I am very proud of work the APEX team does every day to help our members advance the industry. I would like to think I can take some credit for fostering the camaraderie and spirit of the APEX Staff, however I know the credit belongs with each member of the team who help and support each other every day – which makes me incredibly proud.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through driving innovation in your role at APEX? Katie: Despite best efforts, not every idea is going to work. That said, the possibility of failing should never dissuade an individual or company from being open to exploring opportunities when they arise. You never know what idea may lead to an innovation that will change the world tomorrow.
What is the greatest shift in aviation that you have seen throughout your career? Katie: One of the most significant industry shifts I have seen while working at APEX has been the demands for different types of in-flight entertainment channels and connectivity.
What was the most difficult aspect with that change? Katie: As technology improves, there is an increased desire for in-flight entertainment and connectivity experience that mirrors the on-the-ground experience. Every day airlines are working hard to balance these evolving expectations with the technological and economic investments needed to make them a reality.
How do you see the aviation industry evolving in the coming years?
Katie: When you combine the increased interest in global travel, with the ascending trajectory of innovation in the industry, the possibilities for the future of aviation industry is only as limited as one’s imagination.
How does your role as innovator support the future of aviation?
Katie: APEX is a powerful driving force behind the airline industry, providing our global airline members with valuable with tools, opportunities and partnerships to help them make stronger economic decisions. As the Executive Director for APEX, I am helping to connect people, companies and ideas in an effort to advance the end-to-end passenger experience.
Airlines are being forced constantly to make smarter and economically stronger decisions, how does your role as an innovator at APEX support this core goal?
Katie: APEX is a powerful driving force behind the airline industry, helping our global airline members make stronger economic decisions by connecting them with tools, opportunities and partnerships that enhance and support their passenger experience. In my role, I am responsible for ensuring that our programs are effectively supporting our members as they navigate the evolving aviation landscape; from working with APEX leadership to onboarding airline CEOs who guide APEX priorities via the Board of Governors, generating passenger insights and data from our Official Airline Ratings, and curating global marketplaces/events that connect airlines with innovative partners to make air travel better than ever.
What advice would you give to someone seeking your role?
Katie: To manage an association, you first need to have an understand all the parts that make it run and grow - from membership, event production, marketing/communications, sales/sponsorship, as well as the dynamics and politics behind a Board of Directors. Someone who may be interested in this type of work should consider serving on a nonprofit committee or Board, or gaining general management experience. If you’re coming for my role though, you may be waiting a while, as I hope to have the opportunity to serve APEX and its members for quite some time!