Tourism

Women in Travel: Lisa Ronson

We talk to the chief marketing officer of Tourism Australia about her two dogs, major partnerships and not sweating the small stuff.

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

I have always been in the marketing industry because it’s my passion. I started my marketing career at Foster’s Brewing Group, and have subsequently held a succession of marketing roles at Visa International, Telstra, David Jones and Westpac Banking Group.

I didn’t start in the travel industry until I joined Tourism Australia, in February of this year. I did work very closely with, but not quite in, the travel industry when I was at Visa as T&E was a big focus. Back then one of Visa’s bigger partnerships was actually with Tourism Australia’s forerunner, The Australian Tourist Commission.

Those who watch the marketing media closely will be aware that we’ve recently signed a major new partnership with Visa, and I’m very much looking forward to resurrecting what was then and will be again a great marketing relationship.

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

I have been fortunate to work on some great brands and produce some great work over the years that has really resonated with customers and, importantly, driven results.

From a campaign perspective, the work we did on the $100 million in perpetuity education grant at Westpac was a highlight.

However, when looking at defining career achievements, I am most proud of leading and developing some truly great individuals and teams to achieve fantastic outcomes from both a commercial and community perspective.

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

Early in my career being a young female working in a very male dominated industry provided many and frequent challenges. However, it also taught me a lot about dealing with a very broad variety of stakeholders, and how to be direct in my communications.

I’ve always been an optimistic person so I’ve tended to look at challenges as opportunities, and early on I think my naivety also helped not to overthink people and situations.

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

Be confident and back yourself. Trust your instinct and you’ll figure it out.

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

My leadership style is very open, honest and direct. It has always been very important to me to treat people with kindness in life, and work is no exception to that.

I’m also fiercely loyal and expect the same from my teams. I provide feedback to help the team continually improve performance, and find new and innovative ways of working. I like to get to know my teams personally and what matters to them, and have some fun.

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

I admire people that overcome adversity to achieve their dreams and goals, and those that inspire others to achieve things that they never thought possible. I have, and continue to be fortunate enough to consistently work with some outstanding leaders.

I admire leaders that see the big picture and give back to the community, particularly to help those less fortunate.

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

My family is the most important part of my life. I unwind by spending time with my husband, son, my mum and my extended family, and my close friends. I also love food and wine and I love to cook. We have some of the best food and wine in Australia and I like to make the most of it.

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

It’s a positive, growing and dynamic industry that is such an important sector of the Australian economy. We have some of the best tourism product in the world here in Australia, which we should be justifiably proud of.

Our team at Tourism Australia is outstanding, a really talented group of people. I’m loving working with them. I feel very privileged to spend my days helping to make Australia the most desirable and memorable country on the planet.

What one thing gets you through a stressful day?

I love starting my day with a run with our two dogs. It puts me in the right frame of mind for whatever the day holds. I just need to up the frequency.

Coffee also helps. But really, for me it’s all about perspective and the bigger picture. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

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

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