How long have you been with Flight Centre?
I’m just about to celebrate 9 years with the company.
What was your professional background before coming on board with Flight Centre?
I’ve had a variety of marketing roles with some of Australia’s most iconic brands, including Kraft, Décor and Ansett. I also worked as a management consultant for many years with Andersen Consulting, PwC and BDO. I’ve been lucky enough to work in many industries including pharmaceuticals, retail, manufacturing and publishing.
Tell me about your Flight Centre journey.
I moved to Brisbane from Melbourne to take up a role at Flight Centre. Initially I was the General Manager Marketing for Flight Centre’s retail business before the opportunity arose to take on the global marketing EGM role.
What would you say is the big picture purpose of your role?
Ultimately, my job is about driving the activity the business needs. We need to ensure our marketing drives enquiries for the retail shops and creates business development opportunities for corporate bookings. It’s also vital for me to maintain consistency in the Flight Centre brand across all of our international markets, and to act as the brand custodian.
We spend a lot of time building unique propositions for each of our brands, and once we’ve got the formula right, it’s paramount to remain consistent in the look and feel of every aspect of that brand.
I see a lot of young marketers who want to change the approach. They think by constantly changing the brand, packaging and proposition it keeps everything fresh. It’s far more effective to spend time in the planning process to make sure you get the fundamentals right. Believe in the brand you have built, change the bits that need changing and give it time to deliver results. Brands are a long-term investment.
What would you consider to be the highlights of your career at Flight Centre?
Well, we have lots of different brands in the marketplace. Something I take a lot of pride in is how we have established (and re-established) our brands. We still have some way to go, so watch this space! I know our team is well regarded externally for what we have achieved, and that’s been a source of personal satisfaction for me.
And the lowlights?
I don’t really see any of the tough times as lowlights. They are all learning experiences.
Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?
Ideally still with Flight Centre. I need to stay fresh, but luckily there are plenty of brands and markets in the Flight Centre operation for me to do that.
What about in 10 years?
Hopefully I’ll be retired! I don’t see myself ever completely walking away from work though. I’d like to do some consulting and executive coaching.
Do you have any business mentors? Who are they and how do they influence you?
I try to listen to good advice when it is offered, but I wouldn’t say I have a mentor as such. I keep in regular contact with a range of other marketers to hear what they are working on and thinking about. I spend a fair bit of time with a number of the future leaders in our team and others from past companies who want to bounce ideas around or have situations they want to get another perspective on.
What do you tell the marketers who see you as a mentor?
I always say that no-one’s got a mortgage on good ideas. One person doesn’t have all the answers. We should take the time to listen and adapt our ideas to incorporate the input of others.