Midweek interview with Kaylene Shuttlewood

Midweek interview with Kaylene Shuttlewood

We chat to Travelport General Manager for the Pacific region.

The challenge for the industry is…

Adapting to new technology and embracing it.  It can create great opportunities.

The things I like about my job…

Working for a global organisation with Pacific regional responsibility and leading a team of talented people.

And the frustrations are …

The sheer amount of emails I receive each day.  It’s a great business tool, but it’s completely overused.  I have a rule for my team: if I’m in my office and the door is open, nobody is allowed to send me an email.  I always encourage them to come and see me, and have a conversation instead.

If I didn’t work in travel I would be…

Running a champagne bar, but I would have to ban all my friends, in order to make it a profitable venture.

Virgin or Qantas?

Platinum with both.  I have friends at both airlines, and they get cranky at me when I’m not flying with them, but our company policy is to purchase based on price and flight time convenience.  Compared to travel in the UK and the US, we are spoilt with the quality and standard of our inflight service and lounges.

My proudest moment was…

When I was based in London, I was part of the team that led the successful turnaround of the Stella Travel UK businesses (Travel 2, Travelbag, Global Travel Group).  Although I had to make some tough decisions, I learnt a huge amount in this role.

The naughtiest thing I ever did was…

That will need to stay a secret.

I try to relax by…

Swimming, walking along a nice beach and socialising with friends and family.

The last time I feared for my life was…

Driving alone in Johannesburg to attend business meetings. That feeling of isolation and being a long way from anyone who knew I was in that city.

If I can, I always try to avoid…

Responding to emails late at night.  I think responding to emails after a good night’s sleep would result in better replies.

I really wish I had…

Happy to say no serious regrets. Have not actually gone too much without to really wish having done anything differently.

The best advice I’ve ever received was…

Value your own personal reputation and the legacy you will leave behind.

I don’t understand why people…

Don’t follow up and do what they say they are going to do.

My greatest weakness is…

Saying no to a cheeky glass of wine.

And my greatest strength is…

Leading a team to deliver greatness and building valuable partnerships to help grow our customer’s businesses.

If I was prime minister I would…

Pay down our debt, make those that could, work for their welfare payments, and build some infrastructure in NSW.

If I won $1 million on the lottery I would…

Give a third to my chosen charities (Royal Flying Doctor Service, Breast Cancer and Guide Dogs for the Blind), a third to my nieces and nephews to get them started on the property ladder and send them away to become worldlier and experience travel.  With the rest, I would pay off my mortgage, hire a villa somewhere fabulous like Mykonos and throw a big party for my friends and family.

If I could be someone else for one day I would be a…

Surgeon – save a life and do something really amazing and meaningful.  Except I don’t like the sight of blood, so it might be difficult.

I’ve always wanted to travel to…

Cuba.  There are still so many places I haven’t been to yet. But I will always love landing back in London, it’s like a 2nd home to me.

My favourite holiday was…

A girls trip a few years ago with Shirley Field from VA and Gia Acitelli from VS.  Highlights included seeing Madonna in concert in Paris, private tasting sessions in Champagne houses in France and lunch in Madame Veuve’s private dining room.

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