Tourism

Women in Travel: Ann Sherry

Travel Weekly Magazine

We talk gardening, delivering holiday dreams and a sense of humour with the CEO of Carnival Australia.

Can you tell us a little about your career progression? How did you get your start in the travel industry?

If my path to the travel industry had been a cruise, it would have been an itinerary of seemingly unrelated but always interesting destinations.

I became CEO at Carnival Australia in July 2007 following a career in the health sector, government and banking, all of which involved experiences that have been useful in the fascinating world of cruise shipping.

What would you say is your defining career achievement or the thing you are most proud of?

There are two that really stand out. The first was the introduction of paid maternity leave at Westpac, which was a defining moment for the company and for the financial services sector, with a knock-on effect throughout the private sector.

It made a big difference for women in the workplace but businesses also discovered it was good for them too because so many experienced employees were retained.

The second is leading the resuscitation and ultimate resurgence of the cruise industry, which had suffered significant damage to its reputation.

Carnival Australia has played a huge part in the complete transformation of the cruise industry as it has become the most successful sector of Australian tourism and last year achieved the landmark of one million passengers a full six years earlier than the target we set.

What have been the biggest challenges to success you’ve encountered professionally?

Without a doubt, it’s been the challenge of pressing ahead against the sometimes immovable ‘object’ of the status quo. All too often, people are happy just to keep things the way they are because they would rather go with the flow than embrace the sense of possibility, which can really be exciting.

I have to confess to being the status quo’s worst enemy! I like the excitement of positive change and I think we need to be dynamic.

ANN SHERRY_02

With the benefit of wisdom, what advice would you give your 21 y/o self when you were starting out in your career?

I would want my younger self to know that the job you will ultimately be doing is unlikely to be what you are doing today and it might just be a job that hasn’t even appeared on the career horizon yet.

So my advice to my younger self and young people in general is to be open to new ideas and new directions and take risks. As I’ve experienced, it certainly makes life very interesting.

How would you describe your business/management style? What sorts of things are most important to you professionally?

First rule, surround yourself with great people and set ambitious targets. No one believed it when we said one million Australians would be cruising by 2020 but we are there six years early.

Now we are looking at three million Australians cruising each year, the equivalent of 10% of the population and more than double the current market penetration, which is already world leading at 4.2%.

Second rule, don’t try to do other people’s jobs. Being a CEO is about leadership to set the direction of the business. Third rule, in order to surround yourself with great people, you also have to develop your good people. Find exceptional talent and nurture it.

Who are the people you admire most professionally or in any field/walk of life?

Christine Lagarde, the current managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is the standout. She took over after the IMF sustained reputational damage and she restored its’ standing while helping to manage the world through all the turmoil of one of the most difficult monetary and economic episodes in world history.

It has been her steady hand and voice of reason that has stopped a perilous situation from becoming even worse and helped set the path to recovery. She is a woman of great ability and fine judgement.

ANN SHERRY_01

What do you do to unwind when you aren’t working? What is most important to you outside the office?

Having a farm to escape to and do something totally different from the day to day is the perfect distraction. Building a chicken coup from scratch in the back paddock was good therapy and good fun.

I like to garden – you can’t beat a good veggie garden and it improves the quality of the food we eat. I also like to read – can’t get enough of good books – and go to the movies.

For you, what’s the best aspect of working in the travel industry?

The best part about being in travel and the cruise industry in particular is that you are delivering people’s holiday dreams and helping them build memories of places and cultures that will last a lifetime.

But it is also being party to the energy and innovation that are so essential to business growth in this industry. The industry is growing and there is greater recognition of the value we create.

What one thing gets you through a stressful day?

Not all stress is bad of course. It sharpens the mind and can bring out the best in people. But you do have to start the day with a good cup of coffee and to keep a sense of humour because I find that often the best antidote to stress is to have a good laugh.

You can see the other ladies from our exclusive Women in Travel series here:

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Road & Rail

Road & Rail Wrap: Avis launches subscription service, Rail Europe’s new site and app coming soon + MORE

After stopping off the side of the highway for a quick kip, Travel Weekly’s Road & Rail Wrap is back, all nice and refreshed.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Cyprus offers to pay travellers COVID-19 bills

Cyprus has gone to new lengths to lure travellers back to the Mediterranean by offering to pay costs for anyone whose trip is ruined by COVID-19.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Major Japanese theme parks ask guest not to scream on rollercoasters

As the world begins to reopen, operators have begun rolling out new and creative ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But this is a new one.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Cover-More CEO exits

The global travel insurance provider has waved goodbye to its chief, but not before signing him up to a premium policy.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Afterpay makes online travel play

If COVID-19 wasn’t already enough of a challenge for travel agents, a new OTA has entered the ring.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tourism Malaysia’s new Aussie director on the destination’s big marketing shift

by Huntley Mitchell

The destination is placing much more of a focus on its digital presence and “smart partnerships”, as it looks to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

How are high flyers dealing with coronavirus? A new jet-to-yacht service seems to be the answer

Are you or your clients keen to avoid cattle class (or any class for that matter) on your first post-coronavirus flight? Start saving your pennies for this new service.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

STUDY: More than half of Aussies are keen to get travelling in the next six months

Find out where, when and how Aussies will hit the road once restrictions are lifted with this handy set of survey results.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Pandemic could push consumers to use agents over OTAs, says Barry Mayo

by Ali Coulton

The TravelManagers chairman has also predicted more bricks-and-mortar agents will make the switch to a home-based model, given the risk of further lockdowns.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Team behind Addicted to Maldives launches domestic-focused DMC

The new offering aims to help curate your clients’ domestic escapades so that you can give them their perfect post-lockdown getaway.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Cruise Wrap: CLIA offers training to non-members, more lines extend pause in operations + MORE

Travel Weekly staff dread Cruise Wrap days because they usually result in our deputy editor singing Enya’s “Orinoco Flow”, until we lock her in a cupboard.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Australian adult entertainer removed from flight over comments about George Floyd protests

This story has a bit of everything – an airline, an adult entertainer and even the ongoing George Floyd protests in the US.

Share

CommentComments