After five years working at IBM, two childhood friends and I decided that we wanted to explore the world before life caught up and the opportunity to travel disappeared. So off we set, flying east to the ancient wonders of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia, before stepping foot in the red earth, untapped wilderness and never-ending coastline of Australia.
Combining my passion for travel with a career never felt possible, but through a chance get-together with a friend who worked there, I ended up at Audley. Coupled with my background in photography, it has opened up opportunities to interact with and capture a changing world, both for me and our travellers. And, for the last ten years, I’ve not looked back.
I started my career at Audley in the country specialist role, which is like no other I’ve encountered in the travel industry. It’s the specialists’ first-hand knowledge of their region coupled with the one-specialist-to-one-client mantra that truly sets Audley apart.
You can build a relationship with your clients from that first point of contact through to when they return from their trip. It allows you to understand fully what they like (and don’t like) and what inspires them, so you can build that perfect trip from the basis of your own experiences and the clients’ input.
And, over the years, I’ve arranged trips for thousands of clients. Hearing their tales of adventure and seeing their photographs is a real highlight — there aren’t many roles where you see the fruits of your labour from start to finish.
Around 18 months ago, I moved into the Regional Sales Manager role, which has different challenges and rewards. No longer client-facing, yet still hands-on, I help to lead and develop a team in a region of the world where more and more pockets are becoming increasingly accessible: exciting for us and for our clients.
No two days are the same. In the morning I can be training a new member of the team or supporting a senior member, or rearranging a cancelled flight — all before lunch.
I’ve always wanted to grow and develop, and finding a job in any industry where you keep learning can be difficult.
At Audley, the ethos is very much about development. In my role that varies from running in-house training ‘surgeries’, one-to-one development plans and broadening the team’s horizons, as well as my own development.
The Regional Sales Manager role can have a huge impact on the success of Audley’s repeat business model, which is a lynchpin in why we’re so successful. Without setting the bar high we won’t retain that pillar of our success, and we all strive for excellence.
And, I still get to travel and keep that bug alive. Here’s to serendipity.