Ca­reer in Fo­cus

Travel Bulletin - - CONTENTS - Karen Hardie Vice Pres­i­dent, global sales for Rocky Moun­taineer

1. What does your role in­volve and how long have you been in your cur­rent po­si­tion?

I have been with Rocky Moun­taineer for over four years, and in my cur­rent po­si­tion as VP, global sales for the past year. Along­side my team, I am re­spon­si­ble for the strate­gic di­rec­tion and world­wide sales ini­tia­tives of our com­pany. We work with trade part­ners through­out the world who share our as­pi­ra­tion to de­liver in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ences to our shared guests.

2. How did you start out in your ca­reer? Were you al­ways des­tined to work in the travel in­dus­try?

As the daugh­ter of an air­line ex­ec­u­tive, I was born into a trav­el­ling fam­ily - tourism is in my blood. I started my ca­reer in phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sales, and tran­si­tioned into travel on both the mar­ket­ing and sales side soon af­ter. My ca­reer has taken me to al­most ev­ery con­ti­nent; travel is some­thing I’ve al­ways had a pas­sion for.

3. Did you com­plete for­mal qual­i­fi­ca­tions, and how have they helped you in your ca­reer?

I com­pleted my un­der­grad­u­ate de­gree in Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Pub­lic Re­la­tions and Me­dia and I think that has helped me de­velop my hard skills in writ­ing and dis­till­ing in­for­ma­tion into ul­ti­mately what con­sumers need to know. Rocky Moun­taineer val­ues growth and devel­op­ment and af­forded me the op­por­tu­nity to take part in the Ex­ec­u­tive Lead­er­ship pro­gram at the Sauder School of Busi­ness at UBC. I learned a lot dur­ing my ca­reer through trial and er­ror, but it’s won­der­ful to be able to com­ple­ment those skills with the­ory and ap­plied prac­tice.

4. What do you love about your job?

I am truly blessed to work with the cal­i­bre of peo­ple we have at RM. And, our prod­uct is truly amaz­ing; it is rare to be able to sell some­thing that you are pas­sion­ate about. Al­though we have been around for over 25 years, we are still learn­ing and grow­ing. I of­ten say, “In­no­va­tion is hard” and it is, but the world is chang­ing so fast, and we need to change faster, just to keep pace.

5. What were some of the great­est chal­lenges you’ve had in your ca­reer?

I feel lucky to have worked in so many dif­fer­ent coun­tries but that, of course, comes with its dif­fi­cul­ties. The nu­ances of cul­ture can make a big dif­fer­ence in the mes­sage and ap­proach you should adopt. I’ve learned that the world is very big, and very small, and that you need to be able to cre­ate a “home” with peo­ple you love and trust in any lo­ca­tion.

6. What fac­tors are cen­tral to a suc­cess­ful ca­reer?

Sup­port is key. I have been so for­tu­nate to have a sup­port­ive fam­ily and net­work through­out my ca­reer, which has been re­ally help­ful when de­cid­ing to take far­away po­si­tions or put my­self for­ward for a pro­mo­tion. But over­all, you have to like what you do and work hard at it. Find some­thing that aligns with your pas­sion and stick with it.

7. Is hav­ing a men­tor an essen­tial part of get­ting ahead in a ca­reer? Do you have one?

I have al­ways been in­spired by peo­ple who are driven to be the very best ver­sion of them­selves. This can take dif­fer­ent forms, and I’ve wit­nessed it in many peo­ple through­out my life. There is a won­der­ful en­ergy gen­er­ated by peo­ple who know their pur­pose and strive to make it a re­al­ity so I try to sur­round my­self with that kind of re­lent­less com­mit­ment and pas­sion. Hav­ing some­one you can lean on for hon­est ad­vice - whether a men­tor or some­one un­re­lated to your ca­reer - has been very im­por­tant to me.

8. How do you achieve a work/life bal­ance?

As I grew up in Aus­tralia, and most of my fam­ily are there, it’s al­ways been im­por­tant for me to have time to con­nect with them. What I find the most help­ful is to sched­ule time to do that - whether it’s a trip back home or a call with my son - I try to put it in my calendar so it can’t be missed. It also helps that Van­cou­ver, like Syd­ney is such an ac­tiv­i­ty­based city, there’s al­ways a new hike or yoga class to try, which helps in­spire get­ting out of the of­fice! Also, a lovely glass of Shi­raz with a movie at home is a great way to un­wind af­ter a busy week.

9. What ad­vice would you give to oth­ers in the in­dus­try who would like to fol­low in your foot­steps?

Al­ways ask your­self “what can I learn from this?” Once you are in the work place, you of­ten aren’t given for­mal op­por­tu­ni­ties to study, so try to soak up as much as you can from col­leagues, part­ners and, in­evitably, mis­takes. You’re go­ing to be work­ing for the ma­jor­ity of your life, so make sure you con­tinue to learn and chal­lenge your­self. Don’t for­get to laugh at your­self along the way.

My ca­reer has taken me to al­most ev­ery con­ti­nent; travel is some­thing I’ve for’ al­ways had a pas­sion

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