1. You won this year's Young Achiever Award. What were your thoughts going into the RACV Victorian Tourism awards ceremony? How did you feel when you won?
It actually all started when Despina Karatzias from Institute of Excellence, told me that she’d be nominating me for this award. I felt really honoured with the nomination, and to be honest, a bit surprised. I felt like I'd only just started my journey in the Victorian tourism industry, and having a professional like Despina recognise my work and passion for the industry, was my biggest win.
I sincerely did not expect to take that award home, so going to the gala ceremony felt a bit like previous years. I was just ready to have a fun night – although I did put a bit more effort into doing my hair! I was absolutely stoked when they called my name; I can’t even describe the feeling. The most special thing was to have so many people coming over to chat and congratulate me during the night; everyone was genuinely excited for me. In that moment, I realised I had made many special friends in this industry.
2. Besides winning the award, what has been the highlight of your year?
There have been a few. Becoming the Chair of the Young Tourism Network (YTN) at the end of 2017, and being re-elected in November this year. Joining YTN as a member was the best thing I could have done when I moved to Melbourne; joining the Committee two years ago was the second best thing. It’s such a passionate young group of professionals who dedicate their time to help those entering the industry. Being part of this incredible organisation is definitely a very rewarding experience and I enjoy every second of it.
Running another year of our Melbourne Tourism Leadership Program (MTLP) while we also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the program was another highlight. MTLP is a special and unique program, and the best part of my job! With 230 graduates, the program gives people the emotional intelligence tools they need to be more effective leaders within the industry.
3. What do you love most about working in tourism and why?
Tourism is the largest service sector industry in the world, and indeed one of Australia’s greatest strengths. The industry is dynamic, innovative and creative. Working in tourism is like being part of a legacy: we drive economies, create change, preserve history and culture and help others create memories. People in the tourism industry work hard but we also have lots of fun!
4. What do you hope to achieve in 2019?
I look forward to working with Sharna to deliver another successful year of events for the industry, including the Destination Melbourne tourism conference and our Tourism Excellence program which has a great set of topics for 2019.
The Young Tourism Network Committee is also running ahead at full steam. We hope to put on great events and to further develop our Trusted Advisor Program and create even more opportunities for our members.
5. What advice do you have to others wanting to create a career in tourism?
Tourism may be more than what you think. There are many sectors and areas one can work in. If you are starting in the industry but still not sure what you’d like to do, try different things. If you have a good idea but are struggling to get there, again, just try different things. Sometimes the pathway is not as straightforward as it appears, however the skills gained are transferable and everything counts.
Network, network, network. Be involved and connect with the wider tourism industry. You will be surprised at how much you can learn and achieve when you are part of it all.