Celebrating International Women’s Day

International Women's Day poster

To mark International Women’s Day on Thursday 8 March, we asked Elizabeth Hegarty, Head of Security in Terminal 5, to tell us about her leadership role at Heathrow. Here’s what she said about the challenges and moments of pride that make for a rewarding airport career.

Elizabeth at work in the terminal
Elizabeth Hegarty: ‘An open and supportive working environment in which managers are accountable and empowered’

How long have you been at Heathrow?

I’ve been at Heathrow since October 2012. I joined as Head of Sustainability, which is a role that grew and grew. I then moved to Head of Security at Terminal 4 in July 2016. I’d missed working in the operation, which I had been closer to in previous roles at London City Airport, and was keen to work with a larger team.

What makes you come to work in the morning?

For me, working at Heathrow is energising because of the sheer number of customers who rely on us, taking journeys that are usually key to their life and work.

I can’t imagine working in a more office-oriented environment, without the live operation in the background, ready to serve you up a new challenge or moment of pride at any moment!

How does Heathrow compare to other employers?

You get a real sense of purpose when it comes to working at Heathrow. Over 50,000 people will come through Terminal 5 security in a day, all with their own personalities and stories to tell.

Passenger experience is pivotal in Security. I can’t think of any other roles in which you need to be as intrusive to the customer! It’s therefore really important to me that we protect the airport in terms of safety and security with the utmost respect for our customers through delivering great service.

Check-in at Terminal 5
Terminal 5: Passenger experience is critical

It’s my goal to give our passengers comfort that we have the best possible security in place, so they can focus on enjoying their journey with the knowledge that our excellent security teams are keeping them safe.

Security is fast-paced and at times can be a challenging environment to work in, so a big part of my job is working with our managers to ensure they have all the tools they need to support their teams in delivering the best possible performance.

It’s my intention to do this by creating an honest, open and supportive working environment in which our managers are accountable and empowered to ‘call it out’ and make the day-to-day tough decisions.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?

An ongoing challenge for me is to not overload myself. There are so many opportunities to stretch yourself at Heathrow. However, it is important to step back, make sure you are focused on what’s important rather than just what’s shouting loudest at the time, and make sure you have time to relax, recover and enjoy your family and social life too.

Launch your career at Heathrow

Elizabeth is one of many women who have embraced the challenge of working at the UK’s premier airport. And with expansion on the horizon, there are many different career options. Some 76,000 people work across the airport, in thousands of roles for hundreds of different companies. Heathrow Airport Limited directly employs 6,500 of them. Whether you’re just starting out or looking for your next career move, we can help you realise your potential.

Career opportunities at Heathrow


The theme for International Women’s Day 2018 is #PressforProgress. It centres on a gender-parity mindset through progressive action and seeks equality for women worldwide. We can all influence positive behaviours and to see how you can challenge the status quo #PressforProgress now.