Meet our membersBy Business Chicks | Oct 11, 12 08:29 AM
We chat with Penny Spencer, Premium member and Managing Director of Spencer Travel
Last night at the Sydney Business Awards, Spencer Travel took out the Tourism Award - congrats Penny and team!
You’ve been in the travel industry since leaving school; how did you know that was your path? When I first got on a plane at the age of six I knew I wanted to work in something to do with travel. The excitement of going somewhere new, the plane trip and being part of an adventure, I thought this is what I want to be involved in when I grow up.
You’ve said that to get your foot in the door you worked for free. Would you encourage someone who’s really passionate about an industry to do voluntary work? Most definitely, firstly it shows commitment as well proving that you are keen to learn about that industry no matter what it takes. Sometimes you may think an industry is glamorous and fun and until you get a taste by being part of it you never really know. Everyone thinks travel is so glamorous but stamping brochures for free for six months was not so glamorous but I learnt a lot in that time as well.
What do you need to work in the travel industry? Describe your ideal candidate. Passion number one, commitment, efficiency and accuracy. The ideal candidate is someone that puts themselves in the shoes of the traveller, thinks ahead and is confident.
You were the founder of a mentoring program in the travel and tourism industry, TIME (Travel Industry Mentor Experience). What inspired you to develop this program? I saw a need for a mentoring program in the industry. Not only to retain people in the industry but to also grow and create leaders of the future.
The TIME program helps inspire the next generation of leaders via the transfer of knowledge and experience. Since establishment the program has gone from strength to strength with 30 mentees graduating in the last 18 months. Mentoring is something I feel passionate about. I have always felt it’s important to give something back to the Industry.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome? There are obstacles regularly, but in business I think the biggest is dealing with change and adapting to it. September 11 was a big obstacle as the phone stopped ringing that day and didn’t ring again for six months or more. These sorts of obstacles you need to adapt to, think of new ways of doing business, communicate with staff and clients and most of all believe in yourself that you can look beyond the obstacle and plan for the future.
What do you love most about your work – what gets you out of bed in the morning? I love everything about what I do – I still have the energy for the industry and for my business. I self-educate regularly, I learn something new every day and I love a challenge. All of that gets me out of bed every day – every day is a new experience.
What’s your best travel tip? You’re in the know! Best travel tip is planning. If you don’t have a map you don’t know where you are going and planning is your map. Plan in advance to get the best deals and best rooms. Speak to the experts – they have all the best tips and have a map.
Penny is a Premium member of Business Chicks, request her online business card and connect with her here.