FCM Global Product Marketing Manager
What did you enjoy studying in school e.g. favourite subjects? What does that mean for you now?
I studied French throughout high school and went on to major in it at university. I adore France and the French culture so I travel there often. I maintain the study with an online tutor even today so I don't lose the skill, plus a French speaking partner keeps me in check!
What’s your career trajectory – have you always been in travel?
I have always been passionate about travel. Given my language and international business studies and the inherent need Aussies have for adventure, I moved to the UK after university and didn't come home for five years.
I spent most of the time in Europe, working on private yachts, travelling the world by sea as a stewardess; it was an incredible experience.
In 2010, I moved back to reality in Melbourne and put all my travel experience to good use by joining Flight Centre as a leisure travel agent. From there, I moved over to the corporate side of the business in sales for Corporate Traveller, that took me back overseas to Los Angeles, where I was promoted into the role of Director of Technical Implementations for the Americas.
After a few years running that department, Europe was calling my name again, and I moved back to London, just before the pandemic hit, to work in a European Product Manager role. Diving into the world of travel technology lead me to my current role in product marketing, where I can use all my skills combined.
What was your first impression of FCM and how do you feel now?
FCM is a beast! Wrangling offices in 90 countries and an extremely diverse global customer base is a huge task but having incredible people who are so dedicated and adaptable somehow makes it all work. The work hard, play hard mentality lives on!
What do you consider your greatest career achievements?
I am proud of my ability to pivot into new roles (in foreign countries nonetheless) and excel enough to quickly be promoted to senior management. Further to that, being selected to go to our famous elite celebration, Global Gathering, three times, was extremely rewarding.
What do you think is your most important lessons learned?
Pick your battles, learn to focus on those things that are within your control. We have one chance to live life to the fullest so work to live, don't live to work.
What do you think it means to be a woman in a senior leadership position?
It should mean exactly the same for a man in the same position but, unfortunately, it doesn't. It means navigating challenges like sometimes fighting to be heard but it also means bringing to the table unique input through a nurturing and empathetic approach. To find a balance and play to strengths in a management team leads to better collaboration and more effective outcomes. Leading by this example inspires teams and empowers them to feel part of the wider picture and understand where they can have an impact on the overall success of the company.
What do you think of the opportunities available for women at FCTG/FCM and the corporate travel industry as a whole?
One of the best things about FCTG is the various career pathways that are open to us. No matter which department you start in, you're not locked in to working your way up there. I seized the opportunity to live and work in three different countries in a multitude of different roles and have a wide range of experience now.
In terms of in the industry as a whole, women make up the majority but we are generally the 'doers' not the 'strategists' so I would love to see more of us in executive teams.
As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
Fortunately, I haven't felt big barriers in my career. However, when you are a capable woman, I think there is the assumption that you can handle a lot on your plate, so you tend to take on tasks that may be not be your full responsibility to get the job done properly. This takes away time that could be devoted to developing your craft or management skills, meaning you're not optimising your full potential.
How should women support other women in their organisations?
Listening is such a big part of supporting each other. Whether it's to vent, or to problem solve, letting someone know you understand their situation is impactful.
Do or did you have a woman leader as a mentor or are there specific women who inspired you and why?
When I joined the US business, our corporate president, Charlene Leiss, stood out as an inspiring woman. Since we have a flat structure, our management team are easily accessible, and she made the effort to get to know everyone and how them how they were a part of the big picture. Her passion for travel and the business shone through, and we were not afraid to let loose at karaoke!