CAREER IN FOCUS
1. What does your role involve and how long have you been in your current position?
I have been in the MD role for five years. Self-Drive is a quick business so my role is very diverse. I have a sign on my door that says: When people ask: “What do you do?” I say: “Whatever it takes.” My job involves setting the strategic direction for Driveaway Holidays in Australia/ NZ and then ensuring that strategy is implemented with success. Along the way I work very closely with my team as well as deal with suppliers, travel agency partners, ad agencies, marketing companies and the end customer. My role involves “getting my hands dirty” and I would not have it any other way.
2. How did you start out in your career? Were you always destined to work in the travel industry?
My first business card said “Office Junior” and that was with Driveaway Holidays. I was 18. My dad was an accountant so I was destined to work in finance, however I am glad I missed that boat!
3. Did you complete formal qualifications, and do you think they are important?
After completing high school I completed an Assoc Dip in Tourism Management and Marketing. This was important as a starting point, however 25 years of industry experience has given me what I refer to as “Street Knowledge”. “Street Knowledge” about the industry, business and life!
4. What do you love about your job?
Driving to work each day I never know exactly what lies in the day ahead. That is what I love!
5. What were some of the greatest challenges you’ve had in your career?
Being in a reasonably senior role at a young age presented some challenges, particularly around the time of September 11, the Bali Bombings etc. Tough times when tough decisions had to be made.
6. What factors were central to your success?
1) Being myself. Being upfront and honest. 2) Respecting those above and below me. 3) Understanding priorities and the importance of balance.
7. Did you have mentors, and if so, how did you find them?
My dad and my uncle continue to be my mentors. My dad and I talk most days. Dad was a very successful accountant working 57 years with one company that he ended up owning. My uncle left school at 14 and went on to run Australia’s largest agency. Without their guidance and support I would not be in this position today.
8. What are the keys to good business?
In my business, good business comes from great service. Service is very important to our team at Driveaway.
9. What advice would you give to others in the industry who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Talk to as many senior people as possible and learn from their experiences. Read, listen, and ask questions. Respect those above you and below you.
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