Becoming a Travel Programme CEO

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In 2017, ACTE has focused on this new idea of the Travel Programme CEO. The idea is to move away from the misrepresentation of the travel manager role and move it towards becoming the Travel Programme CEO. We asked four effective leaders some questions to dig deeper into what it takes to become the Travel Programme CEO.

MickLee

 

Michelle (Mick) Lee, Founder & President, WINiT and Managing Director, ARROW212


Fo
r those members able to join your session in London ACTE Global Summit, Thursday, 14:15-15:15, what is an example of one thing they can look forward to learning about that will help travel managers advance their careers? 

Time is our greatest commodity.  As a 20-year veteran of the hospitality industry, I have, like many of you, seen countless panels and sessions where I walk away not hearing or learning anything new.  This panel is different and it applies to buyers and suppliers alike.  Why?  I have assembled an eclectic group to tackle the critical topic of how travel managers can own their brand/drive their career and how suppliers can effectively partner with them.

The Perspectives:

  • a long-time buyer who started a global women leadership non-profit and believes we all have the power to own our journey
  • an author who believes that everyone must learn how to tell their story
  • a chief procurement officer with a long belief that the travel sector is not transactional
  • an industry veteran with both buyer and supplier consultative experience with the belief that boundaries were meant to be crossed

 Walk in with high expectations and walk out with specific applications to forge your career

– Michelle (Mick) Lee, Founder & President, WINiT and Managing Director, ARROW212


What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Each and every one of us must evolve.  Continually.  This is not generational and it is not gender or role specific.   I am surprised how often my work with clients who hope to be promoted or who recently lost their job, think that simply keeping their head down and working hard is enough.  It takes more than that – not only to get promoted – but to continue to be relevant and to retain the job you have.  How do you evolve?  First of course, the obvious, listen and learn from everyone around you, from your industry, trade publications and groups.   And second, develop a plan for your career that is as detailed, goal oriented and successful as the one you manage for your leader.   Join our session and we will help you get there.

– Michelle (Mick) Lee, Founder & President, WINiT and Managing Director, ARROW212


What is one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?

 Not adjusting their approach when dealing with each member of your team.

Don’t get me wrong – we all are who we are and we bring our personalities to every interaction.   What I believe, is that effective leaders first learn how each team member learns and processes information – do they need to process information to react, prefer a gentler approach to feedback, do they prefer direct feedback that is to the point so they can move on, do they need a series of discussions to truly understand how they will tackle a challenge – and it is the responsibility to each leader to adjust accordingly.   In order to lead, you need to ensure that your core team hear you and understand the strategy and vision.  It is your responsibility and privilege to do this by communicating to the strengths of each member of your team.

– Michelle (Mick) Lee, Founder & President, WINiT and Managing Director, ARROW212


ShaminSarif   Shamim Sarif, Novelist/Film Director, Enlightenment Productions

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader? 

As a novelist I spend most of my time in a room making up stuff about people who don’t exist and who do and think and say exactly what I want them to. This is not the best training ground for leadership (just for dictatorship). So when directing films, I had to make a fast learning curve that I am still on. I grow and develop by trying to cultivate a clear vision for how I see things, which tends to inspire confidence and, sometimes, excitement. But also to work hard to find people who are much better than be in their respective specialties or fields. Because I think great leaders know how to build a team than makes them better, and to then make that team work cohesively, and passionately, not to outdo each other, but in the service of a bigger end goal or vision. In filmmaking, that’s not as hard as it might be in some corporate settings but it’s still a challenge.

 – Shamim Sarif, Novelist/Film Director, Enlightenment Productions

In your opinion what traits or behaviors set great leaders apart from ‘the rest’?

  • Integrity and personal standards. People sense it if you are not prepared to put in the passion or the hours or the vision. If you are, your team will stick with you
  • Understanding/compassion – this has been a hard lesson for me. To not be judgmental and to realise that just because someone’s way of working is not how I would do things, doesn’t make them better or worse than me, just different
  • Openness to ideas – when you have a good team of advisors, why not be open to their advice?
  • Decisiveness – in the end, if you’re leading, you probably have an overall view of the project or company that no-one else has – and you have to be prepared to make tough choices to protect the overall goal

–  Shamim Sarif, Novelist/Film Director, Enlightenment Productions

 


CarolineStrachan    Caroline Strachan, Managing Partner, Festive Road

What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Where to focus their attention.  Prioritization and knowing when to say no is not a new subject but with the sheer availability of information in the media, on social media, at events, knowing how to shift through masses of information and pick out what matters most is a skill that needs continual refinement.  I’ve been finely tuning this skill over the years and take complex situations and simplify them on a daily basis now!

– Caroline Strachan, Managing Partner, Festive Road

For those members able to join your session in London (Oct 11-13 ACTE Global Summit), what is a very brief example of one thing they can look forward to hearing and learning about that will help travel managers advance their careers?

I’ll be sharing a reminder of the need for balance between the what and the how.  What you deliver and how you deliver are both equally important to me, but different companies expect a different balance.  I’ll share how I’ve juggled this over the years and provide some questions to think about for you to decide your own what/how ratio.

– Caroline Strachan, Managing Partner, Festive Road

What is one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?

Not truly listening.  Listening to their employees, their clients, their suppliers.  Every piece of information you could need to make decisions lies with your people, your clients and importantly your suppliers, with their broad external view.  It’s so simple and it’s a common trait across all of the successful leaders I admire most.

– Caroline Strachan, Managing Partner, Festive Road

 


PatrickMarterPatrick Marter, Chief Procurement Officer, Fidelity International

For those members able to join your session in London (Oct 11-13 ACTE Global Summit), what is a very brief example of one thing they can look forward to hearing and learning about that will help travel managers advance their careers? 

I believe Travel management is much more than transaction processing – it’s a bellwether for the culture of the firm and can influence everything from attitude to cost control to the perception of employees of the firm.

 – Patrick Marter, Chief Procurement Officer, Fidelity International


What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today? 

Redefining their role in an unstructured world of social media, digital technology, agile programs. Where the traditional, hierarchical approach to leadership and functional management is becoming redundant, leaders need to become the nodes in neural / organisational networks where they lead and influence through helping knowledge transfer and creating connections across the organisations.

 – Patrick Marter, Chief Procurement Officer, Fidelity International


What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader? 

I’m constantly fighting the battle to keep an open mind. The longer you work on something the deeper your expertise. The deeper your expertise the wider the gap between what you know vs everyone else becomes, and the easier it is to become blinkered and to believe your expertise is omniscient. 

 – Patrick Marter, Chief Procurement Officer, Fidelity International

 

Join this panel at the London Corporate Travel and Aviation Summit on Thursday, 12 October from 14:15-15:15 for their session focused on Becoming a Travel Programme CEO. 

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