Michelle Jolley, Brand Marketing Manager
“Flight Centre has enabled me with opportunities I’d never find anywhere else.”
I guess you could say that my journey with FCM has been quite the underdog story. I had trained as a Travel Consultant while working at a small travel agency in Johannesburg, South Africa, that specialized in corporate and leisure travel. After a few years, I knew I wanted to make a change and decided to study marketing part-time to go from being the front face of corporate travel to the marketing side of things. During that time, I was always interested in Flight Centre Travel Group. I had friends who already worked there and raved about its culture.
So, in 2009 I applied and interviewed. Unfortunately, the interview didn’t go well and I was devastated to learn that I didn’t get the job. However, about a few months later, they posted a job listing for a similar position and I decided to try again, this time learning from my experience in the last interview – it worked! Even to this day, I admire Flight Centre for their willingness and ability to give people second chances after the first go doesn’t exactly work out.
From there, I spent the first 9 years in South Africa honing my skills in a number of marketing roles until 2019 when I was offered an opportunity to work in the US and rebuild the FCM brand in North America, where I’ve been ever since as Brand Marketing Manager.
No corporate games here
Although I knew before even applying that Flight Centre had a unique, people-first culture, nothing could have truly prepared me for how refreshing it’s actually been. I like to say that although it is corporate, it doesn’t feel corporate. Management is not only approachable, but highly collaborative. If you have an idea or opinion you will be heard, and if there is potential in that idea or opinion, you will be supported. There are no hoops to jump through or corporate games being played. We are here to support each other and enable our customers to thrive.
That being said, we certainly aren’t all work and no play! FCM has allowed me to see so much of the world. I’ve attended 7 of our Global Balls and they’ve all been amazing locations where I've celebrated with both my local and international colleagues. If you’ve got a wanderlust – even if your day-to-day job isn’t necessarily travel oriented – there are opportunities here for you to have that experience.
From underdog to top dog
I’m proud to say that I’ve had the privilege of being recognized as a top performer at 5 of our international celebrations. However, I would have to say that I’ve been most honored to have received the 2022 Global Corporate Marketer of the Year Award during our Global Ball in Las Vegas. Not only was I recognized in front of my US colleagues after moving countries, which in itself was fantastic, but my colleagues in South Africa were also present and able to share that experience with me. It was like a surreal, full-circle celebration of my career, joining my roots to the peak of my accomplishments. FCM really enabled that for me.
Keeping it domestic
There are actually quite a few places I’ve been meaning to see. Despite living in the US for 3 years, I feel like I’ve only experienced a small part of it so far. There’s still so much of this country I have yet to explore and I intend to see as much of it as I can.
But as for my favorite place to visit? South Africa. Since I no longer live there, going back is so amazing. The people are wonderful. The food and culture can’t be beaten. Not to mention the safaris, beaches, and vibrant cities – it’s a destination you can visit and never run out of things to do.