Kevin Willoughby '99


Advanced Degrees: MA, with Distinction, Fashion History & Theory, London College of Fashion, UK

Professional History: I have worked as a copywriter, photographer and adjunct university instructor. Also worked sales in the US and China.

Primary Work Responsibilities: Sell business products, American Airlines Business Extra and AirPass, to new customers. Support relationships with existing customers with an aim to upsell within current products.


How did you start doing what you do today?

I paid my dues at American, first starting as a Temporary Worker in Customer Relations/Central Baggage Service, then in Sales Support supporting one of the products I sell today and also did a stint in Social Media (in Corporate Communications) working with our customers on Twitter.

What have you learned from your time in this profession?

I′ve learned a great deal about our product, network, sales programs and business strategy. I′m also watching the last major merger of the US legacy airlines as we move to fully integrate American Airlines systems, culture, people and best practices with those of US Airways. It′s a truly historic and exciting time to be at American.

What is it about your job that motivates you?

I′m passionate about connecting the globe through aviation, and the products I sell help our customers to do just that.


A Day in the Life:


I use a highly customized version of SalesForce customer relationship management software upon which I base all my sales-leads and current account activity. In the morning I look at emails and return calls with SalesForce always in front of me. After a call or transaction, I make a number of entries in the software to keep the sales work-flow moving. I have a lot of accounts and countless leads, so organization is an absolute necessity.


I also have incoming calls from our leads-qualification team. When on a call, I pull reports using our SalesNet software to see their travel patterns and spending. I also have a system-wide timetable and AirPass pricing tool on the screen so I can focus on the customers′ needs and adjust my pitch to address their needs.

As I contact these new leads, I also work with my manager to plan events in key cities. We just planned five events in Los Angeles to generate new leads. She really looks to me to come up with fresh ideas on how to find new leads. Although I′m part of a very large company, I feel like a small-business owner who has to be creative and a self-starter. I constantly ask myself if what I′m doing will be time well spent on closing sales and bringing results.

Training is a constant at American, so several days a month I may find myself in sales or software training. I also take time to attend town hall meetings with our senior leadership to understand what is happening at the company that spans the globe, employs 100,000 people and is the world′s largest airline. I monitor new routes and ensure that in-flight product changes are current and also that what I sell can meet the needs of a prospective customer.

Finally, I attend networking events and on-site company visits to pitch our products and convert leads with a view to close them and reach my sales targets. Today I put the finishing touches on a PowerPoint presentation tailored to the needs of a small group of young CEOs that I′ll meet with in two weeks.

After work, I do Pilates, power-flow yoga with weights and run. Mountaineering is a passion of mine, so I use working-out as both a way to release stress from the work day and to prepare for my next climb.