Top Advice

CEO, Sydney Metro Airports

Lee de Winton

What has your career path been?

 I joined the Royal Navy at 17 years old and my first job was as an assistant Air Traffic Controller and I absolutely loved it, I’m a woman that loves chaos, is very task focused, loves seeing things done quickly and I wanted to be in a job where it really mattered, Air Traffic Control was everything and it ticked every single one of those boxes.

I was an Air Traffic Controller for 6years in the UK and then when my Commission was complete with the Navy I joined the Royal Australian Air Force, that decision was purely based on good timing and wanting to seek more adventure. Again, as an Air Traffic Controller. The Air Force is very good in the diversity space, and by that I mean that if the best person for the role is a woman she will get the role.

In 2003 I went to Baghdad as the Flight Commander of a deployment. I also headed up Tactical Operations for air traffic and in that role and with the encouragement of my boss at the time, I became the first female Executive Officer of an Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron (this involves all levels of Airfield Deployment and Management).

Then after completing my masters and working for the Deputy Chief of Air Force I moved back to that [same] squadron as the Commanding Officer in 2011. Our role was to deploy and set up an airbase and airfield to support the Air Force anywhere in the world.

In one of my last jobs before I left the Airforce I spent nearly a year in Afghanistan as the Base Commander (Airport Manager) of the multi-national base, working with 7000 people of various nationalities. I then worked with Qantas in their Freight department and moved into the role of Head of Freight Operations. But I always wanted to move back into airports and to be a Chief Executive and manage airports again, so here I am in this position now with Sydney Metro Airports.

Image: Lee de Winton

The scope and variety of roles and careers paths is incredible

You are keen to be constantly challenged and you love working in a dynamic team using the latest equipment, in a fast paced environment.

The Navy, Army and Air Force offer great training and development for pilots, engineers, technicians, air traffic controllers and ground crew. If you like the idea of working with strike aircraft, military helicopters, heavy transporter aircraft and surveillance aircraft, you could be an Army helicopter pilot, a Navy aerospace engineer or an Air Force air traffic controller.

The scope and variety of roles and careers paths is incredible, and working for Defence is extremely rewarding.

Image: Lee de Winton



If the best person for the role is a woman
she will get the role.

Lee de Winton, CEO, Sydney Metro Airports