CAREER INSIGHT FROM INDUSTRY LEADER – FIONA BATTEN
As we continue to navigate this challenging time in our industry, many are reassessing their career options. To help with this process, AA Executive division is chatting to industry leaders who are generously sharing their personal experiences, achievements and advice to help provide valuable career insight.
This month AA is proud to feature Fiona Batten – GM Australia of cievents
With a career spanning across retail, wholesale, airline, conferences and events, Fiona is not only a highly accomplished commercial executive with a proven track record, but also an inspirational leader and role model always taking the time to mentor and develop her team. From BDM at Qantas Holidays, Fiona’s successes were recognised during her 12 years with Qantas becoming Head of Group Sales for Australia before broadening her industry experience and joining the M.I.C.E market where she is currently GM Australia of cievents.
What has been the greatest achievement of your career?
While my career has allowed me to be part of producing some incredible events in pretty amazing places, supporting the development and progression of others has definitely been the greatest privilege of my work. Through my time at both Qantas and Flight Centre Travel Group with cievents, I’ve been fortunate to lead, coach and support some truly talented people. Witnessing the progress they’ve made, the milestones they’ve conquered or new roles they’ve landed brings me incredible satisfaction – it’s certainly what inspires me to front up and give my best every day. I’m a true believer in the power of a happy team. Starting with your own people pays exceptional dividends – in turn rippling through to happy customers, and in turn a commercially thriving business.
How can we as an industry ‘change the world in the future?’
Protecting the environment has never been more important. With the effects of climate change more palatable than ever, consumers worldwide are advocating loudly for sustainability – challenging businesses to put their words into actions and find smarter ways of operating. The travel-tourism industry may currently be on ‘hold’, but now is the time to THINK like true leaders of our time – recycling, reducing and reusing more creatively than ever before. COVID, whilst traumatic, has forced us to take stock, to be truly grateful for the world we live in, and to care for all the fellow human beings we live with. For many, 2020 has provoked new thinking about the way we wish to live, and function. As business leaders we must recognise our duty of care for the environment in which we live and work. For those of us fortunate to live in a developed world, we have an opportunity to enact meaningful change, and make new and better ways possible for our customers too. Environmental sustainability is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a new norm – society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper through the years ahead, every organisation will not only need to demonstrate financial viability, but prove itself a positive contributor to society at large.
What would your advice be to those who were hoping to join the travel or event industry, which is now at a standstill?
Right now, I would say be patient. Whether it’s regional, domestic or international, a love of travel exists in the blood of most Aussies. The minute we’re ‘set free’ again, the travel industry will be ready to welcome us back with open arms – perhaps in even more creative, and dynamic ways than ever imagined. The travel community is an incredibly loyal and passionate one. Those keen to join it should use this time to develop themselves personally and professionally, such that they’ll be ready to hit the road running when the time is right. My career has taken me to some incredible countries, and allowed me to experience all kinds of cultures, communities and ways of life. The wealth of memorable experiences I have in my back pocket is an absolute gift, and one I couldn’t recommend highly enough. If you’re prepared to work hard, and thrive under fast moving, high pressure conditions, travel is the ride for you – jump on and enjoy the adventure!
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