One of the best things that ever happened to Toni Freeberg, director of business transformation and a 2019 Alaska Legend, may have been failing to summit Mount Rainier on her first attempt.
A graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder who grew up climbing mountains near Denver, Freeberg moved to Seattle in 1987 after 15 months of traveling the world. Trained in business, she took a temporary job in Alaska Airlines’ Accounting department, figuring she might keep traveling after reaching the tallest local peak. But after being turned back by a blizzard, the chance to try again factored into a decision to stay in town another year. In that year, she found a permanent job at Alaska, met her future husband, and fell in love with working at the airline and living in Seattle, as well.
She summited Rainier the following summer.
Freeberg’s persistence and adventuresome spirit have helped her greatly in her career. Over 32 years with Alaska, she has relished taking on varied projects—often very challenging ones—in the Marketing, Sales, e-Commerce, Mileage Plan and Revenue Management departments.
“I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been put into roles for things we hadn’t done before, where we were breaking new ground,” she says.
Today, Freeberg is part of the new Business Transformation team that explores broad, companywide initiatives.
Among her top past accomplishments was helping lead the integration of Alaska and Virgin America systems. And since the early 1990s she has been a leader in the Compassionate Assistance Relief Effort that is part of Alaska Airlines’ emergency response and preparedness team.
Freeberg finds time to volunteer at a local YMCA, as well. And she and her husband enjoy taking outdoor trips with their son and daughter, now grown. She says that there’s one thing she’s particularly glad they’ve instilled in their children: a sense of adventure.
Questions & Answers
What do you like most about your job?
I’ve had chances to move into new roles in areas of new focus for the airline, getting to build things from the ground up and getting to work with great people.
What is your best piece of job advice?
The advice I give my kids is to always strive to be the best at whatever job you have. You make the job what it is. Always believe you have the most important job, and make it the best you can.
What have your favorite trips been?
My thing is really adventure travel. Some highlights: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and riding camels in Morocco.
What’s on your travel to-do list?
I’m planning Mongolia and Patagonia trips in the next two years. Antarctica is No. 1 on the wish list. … I’m a freak for penguins!
What do you pack when you travel?
The least amount possible.
Kudos from Toni’s Co-Workers
“Toni sets the stage for high-performance culture. She’s a go-getter who doesn’t turn away a challenge. She delivers results beyond expectations, especially under tough circumstances and under pressure.” —Agnes Zajac, Manager, Pricing, Seattle
“Integrity is one word that embodies Toni. She always says what she is going to do and does it. She sets clear expectations for her team and encourages others to believe in themselves.” —Rosalie Hallenbeck, Director of Business Transformation, Seattle
“She never hesitates to jump in and help, even if there is not a formal request. Toni leads by example, offering support, guidance and knowledge.” —Deena Parker, Senior Product Manager, e-Commerce, Seattle
“Toni is a woman of core strength, fierce caring, enthusiastic passion and unwavering commitment … with no fear of the unknown or new adventures. She leans in … to learn, lead others, have impact and have fun.” —Sandy Stelling, Managing Director of Business Transformation, Seattle
Alaska Airlines employees such as Toni are the reason for our excellence. Join us in creating an airline people love. Visit alaskaair.jobs.