Rachel Kay

Managing Director, Thales Learning & Development

My career began with eight years in the travel and leisure industry, managing overseas operations across Europe and India for UK tour operators, which enabled me to gain a deep understanding of the way different cultures work. I then returned to the UK to run the learning and development function for a large online travel agent, which exposed me to the tangible benefits of people development, sparking a real interest in the link between L&D and organisational performance – the ability to increase employee motivation and achievement through great learning experiences. That has been a real driver for me ever since.

Having joined Thales Learning & Development 16 years ago, I have seen the organisation grow from a turnover of just £700k to over £11m, and been an integral part of that growth. Initially joining as a management consultant, I later moved into a Key Account Manager role to experience a different side of the businesses – where I was responsible for winning our first managed service contract, worth £1m – before running the cross-functional marketing/business development operation. I was subsequently promoted to Businesses Development Director before taking over as Managing Director last year.