David Chipinde, also known as Chips, is a Key Account Manager in the sales division at Amadeus East Africa, a position he took up in 2010. We chatted to David to find out more about him.
As a Key Account Manager at Amadeus East Africa, what does your job entail?
I look after small, medium-sized and some of the larger travel agencies in Kenya. About 75% of my customers are based in Nairobi with the rest in Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru.
What were you doing before you joined Amadeus?
I worked in the airline industry for many years in the areas of customer service, training, and airline loyalty programmes before joining Galileo Kenya where I worked in the sales and support department eight years.
Why did you decide to join Amadeus and what do you like about the company?
I needed a change and although it was a crazy move to join a competitor, when the opportunity arose, I took it. It has been a breath of fresh air in terms of the working/enabling environment, the culture, processes, people, and the opportunities to contribute to ideas, make changes and feel empowered.
Did you face any challenges moving from one competitor to another?
Initially when I joined Amadeus, it was a major challenge to face the same customers who I was serving while at Travelport and convince them to switch to Amadeus. In effect I wasn’t selling Amadeus but rather selling change, which is a difficult commodity to sell.
What would you like to achieve at Amadeus and what would you like to see Amadeus East Africa achieving going forward?
I am focused on continuously demonstrating and promoting Amadeus’s value to the travel agencies and ensuring that I am perceived as their partner. My vision for Amadeus East Africa is that it continues to be the viable industry partner it is, and continues to embraces dynamism, customer centrism, and innovation. I want to ensure that it becomes the preferred travel technology partner in Kenya and East Africa and retains that status.
Tell us a little about your background
I was born and educated in Nairobi. I am married to Muthoni and we have two wonderful children Nadine and Nigel. I have vast airline industry experience in the areas of customer service, learning and development, sales, airline systems, QC systems and more. I also have a degree in business management. It’s great that Amadeus continues to invest in my personal development by training me in areas that are relevant to my field.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My dream was to be a pilot. My mum worked for an airline and it was fun whenever we flew. I was amazed by the whole flight experience and the realization that there was a person right in the front responsible for taking the silver bird up into the air. Even though I did not end up in the pilot seat, 30 000 feet above sea level, I did end up working for the national airline and now at Amadeus and every second of my journey has been worth it.
What are you passionate about?
I like to inspire change and hope to inspire my kids to be driven to do the same one day. At work I always offer new ideas on how to do things differently. When I’m not in the office, you’ll find me at home watching movies. Comedies and thrillers are my favourites, but the best moments come from watching The Simpsons with my kids, seeing the delight on their faces and hearing them laugh. On Sundays you’ll find me at church where I am involved in programmes that revolve around changing people’s lives.
What are the Top 3 items on your bucket list?
I would like to go bungee jumping, sky diving, and visit The Simpsons studio to meet Homer and Bart Simpson.
What is your favourite holiday destination in East Africa?
Mombasa. It has all the trappings of a coastal town – great beaches, serenity, good food and quality hotels. Globally, I love London.
What books are you reading at the moment?
I’m not really a book worm, but I read the Bible every day and am currently reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It’s the intrigue and thriller aspects that fascinate me.
Name three people who you admire and why?
Richard Branson – he’s a very grounded guy who is in touch with the dynamics of business, customers and employees. He is always motivating, innovating and full of practical ideas. (Mr Branson. If you are reading this, the fourth item on my bucket list is to travel on the Virgin Galactic plane!)
Joel Osteen, an American preacher and evangelist who inspires me with his motivational messages that touch on all aspects of life and propel hope and growth.
My dad – I admire his calm approach to life. He is very easy going, diplomatic and social, and is loved by my relatives and friends. When things get tough, I apply some of his principles and things start looking better.