Career in Focus
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