A love of travel influenced Kimberly Page to first take a job with Keystone Aviation in 1999. Page booked a flight to the top, becoming the COO in 2013 after spending many years as the Salt Lake-based company’s CFO. We sat down with her recently to reflect on her first year as COO.
Since your appointment as COO, what goals have you been able to accomplish?
This first year has been a lot about team building—making sure we have the right people in the right role to take us forward. And then filling in the roles that we need to facilitate that growth and making sure we have that infrastructure in place to allow for that future growth. So it’s been a very inward-looking time that has been focused on building that infrastructure and those key team members who are going to help take us forward.
What excites you most about this role?
Being able to help develop the vision for the future and establish a plan to accomplish that vision, and to be able to work through that plan .... Having that long-term planning perspective—as CFO you contribute to it, but as COO it really falls on me to develop the vision and to have the team in place that can execute. That has been a lot of fun and very exciting.
How did you develop an interest in aviation?
For me, it was having a fantastic mentor. Bill Haberstock has been our president for many years. He was the person who hired me in 1999. Having that mentor … offered me the opportunity to get into aviation and Bill fostered my interest in areas outside of finance.
How did having a strong mentor influence your career?
It allowed me to be involved in everything from building hangars to negotiating leases to client presentations, and really played an instrumental role in my development. Bill definitely played a huge role in elevating me to this position. In the early days, I think it was out of necessity and adding that financial perspective to his strategic decision making. Over time, I think it evolved as my experience and expertise grew. Without him that would have never happened. … [Bill] still plays a very important role in our organization, but he has given a lot of the operational day to day over to me. So that mentor role absolutely continues today and hopefully well into the future.
What do you hope people will remember from your leadership style?
Safety is what drives every facet of our organization. That is a core value that we certainly cannot compromise. One of the things we talk about is if we do the right things for our customers and our employees, we will by default do the right thing for our organization. Five years from now, I would want someone looking back to say, “She created an environment where the focus was on doing the right thing for the customers and employees, and as a result was able to drive the organization forward in a positive way.”