In our exclusive series, we spoke to Destination NSW CEO about being headhunted, loyalty and going the extra mile.
Can you tell us a little about your career progression?
After obtaining a Business degree, I moved interstate to work in Regional Tourism then moved again to join Australia’s National Tourist Office working in Australia, Europe and the USA.
I went on to specialise in the incentive travel, trade events and conventions, came back to Sydney to work in the field, and after a few years was then headhunted to run the World Expo for Australia in Hanover, Germany.
This was particularly satisfying because I was able to further develop my major events experience and expertise and also have my first insight as to the broader demands of a Chief Executive role. I came back to beautiful Sydney and joined the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority as Executive Director overseeing commercial partnerships, major asset management, tourism and major events for The Rocks and Darling Harbour.
Then I was headhunted as CEO of the Melbourne Convention & Visitors Bureau, then headhunted again to come back and establish Destination NSW as the inaugural CEO; the position I have held for the last four years.
What would you say is your defining career achievement or the thing you are most proud of?
Hard to say and hopefully there are still more to come. I really have enjoyed every challenge but, if I’m pressed, then I think my career achievements are a blend of delivering record results, innovating wherever and whenever I can and creating winning teams and organisational cultures.
What have been the biggest challenges to success you’ve encountered professionally?
Dealing with nervous, negative, people who always focus on why it can’t be done or why you can’t achieve that goal and working overseas away from family and friends.
With the benefit of wisdom, what advice would you give your 21 year old self when you were starting out in your career?
Always volunteer for the hard jobs – no one expects you to succeed but wow think about the impression you’ll make trying and maybe even succeeding, keep going the extra mile – you get nothing for nothing, take that job overseas.
You’ll have those experiences for life, be true to yourself – you will always be respected for that and finally don’t be fearful – as someone said to me once; the Good do what they can, the Great do what needs to be done.
How would you describe your business/management style? What sorts of things are most important to you professionally?
I try to lead by example – work hard, don’t settle for second best, be courageous and have a lot of laughs and fun with your colleagues along the way. I value success, determination, innovation, trust and loyalty.
Who are the people you admire most professionally or in any field/walk of life?
Those who overcome great adversity, and people involved behind the scenes, doing the dangerous or the thankless tasks day after day, often poorly remunerated, to give other people a better life, really deserve everybody’s admiration.
What do you do to unwind when you aren’t working? What is most important to you outside the office?
I go to beach, the movies, the footy, go shopping, see a new show or exhibition, travel to a new place or festival, and read for pleasure. Outside the office, it’s loved ones, friends, trying something new and always having lots of things to look forward to.
For you what’s the best aspect about working in the travel industry?
The fantastic people, the wonderful experiences that you can have (especially in NSW) and the dynamic pace of the industry.
What one thing gets you through a stressful day?
Definitely strong coffee and when it gets really crazy, then sharing some well needed laughs.
You can see the other ladies from our exclusive Women in Travel series here: