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CVG's McGraw Named Best Boss

Reprinted from The Community Recorder

By Stephanie Salmons

April 17, 2013 — Candace McGraw, the CEO of Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport since 2011, has, according to employees, created a true family atmosphere at the airport.

McGraw was voted Northern Kentucky’s overall top employer by participants in the Community Recorder’s first online Northern Kentucky Best Boss competition. Winners were also named in each of Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties.

“She doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk,” McGraw’s nomination letter reads.

During her tenure leading CVG, McGraw has overseen the redesign of Concourse A, the relationship with DHL and the arrival of Frontier Airlines, while the airport has been recognized for safety and efficiency and was named best regional airport three years in a row, the nomination reads.

“All of this is wonderful news for the Cincinnati region, but Candace deserves to be best boss not because of these accomplishments, but because of the way she treats her fellow employees,” the letter reads. “She preaches a ‘family’ atmosphere and she backs it up with actions."

Staff members say McGraw brings flowers to her assistants or will treat employees to an occasional breakfast or lunch.

“It was really a tremendous honor,” said McGraw, who discovered she was nominated after the fact.

“I think the staff here are fabulous. I love working with my colleagues. They are so dedicated to CVG’s mission, dedicated to the community. They treat this airport like their home and that’s the feeling we want to have our passengers feel when they come here.”

When she learned she took the top honors, McGraw said she was thrilled.

It was meaningful “because I really respect the people with whom I work.”

McGraw said she tries to be collaborative in her management.

“The folks here are the ones that do all the heavy lifting. I sort of view my job as being a blocker, trying to take any impediments out of their way so they can do their job.”

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, McGraw, who lives in Villa Hills, has been at CVG since 2009.

The airport, she said, has gone through a “tremendous” amount of change over the last few years.

“I think it’s important to let people know their work is valuable and that they are valued in doing that work and that as we’re going through the changes here, we have a goal in sight and they’re a part of that and they’re critical to it, particularly in times of change. Folks need a steadying influence.”
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Four Questions with Candace McGraw

Describe your management style in one word.


What do you think makes you a good boss?

I try to have good listening skills. I also try to pick up on what’s not being said. I really try to pay attention. I know that we spend the bulk of our quality hours of our day here at work. We spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our families and you want to make it a good working environment.

What do you enjoy most about working at CVG?

I love the people here. We take our work very seriously, but we don’t take each other very seriously. We laugh a lot. We try to make it relaxed, even though it’s very serious work we do in terms of safety, in terms of security, in terms of customer service levels, but we try to have fun doing it.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

I’m a lawyer by background and I had worked in Cleveland’s airport system before I came here, but in my next life, if I had to do it all over again, I would open up a gelato stand in Italy, by the Mediterranean.
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