TIME to fast-track future leaders

By Judith O’Neill*

JudithI HAD planned this month to write about crisis management and disaster recovery planning. However, as the actual natural disasters continued to grow throughout the nation, I decided you would be either managing a disaster now or wanting to have a breather from the dire consequences being experienced by thousands of Australians.

Changing tack to a very positive initiative for the Australian travel and tourism industry, let me tell you more about Travel Industry Mentor Experience or TIME.

We launched TIME in June 2010 with five mentees and five mentors, having secured the financial sponsor-ship we required from Sabre Pacific; Creative Holidays; Virgin Blue and Royal Caribbean International (Gold Sponsors) and Blue Sydney Hotel; Avis Australia and Travel Daily (Silver Sponsors).

We had two mentees from Melbourne, one from Brisbane and two from Sydney, who all attended induction and introduction workshops in Sydney. One mentee left during the six months program, having resigned from her company.

Every six weeks we have had net-working evenings to bring together mentees, mentors, committee members and invited industry leaders. Interstate mentees and mentors have been flown in to attend and accommodated at Blue Sydney Hotel.

TIME is proud to announce that the graduation of the first intake of mentees will be held this week at a red carpet event in Sydney with Virgin Blue chief executive John Borghetti presenting certificates.

Graduating mentees will become Alumni of TIME; ambassadors for the program and as successful industry managers, leaders and entrepreneurs, mentors to future mentees.

Also during the evening TIME will introduce the third intake of 11 mentees who will have been inducted into the program and introduced to their mentors on the same day.

The feedback the committee of TIME has received from the graduating mentees and participating mentors has been inspiring, positive and heartfelt. This quote tells the story:

“In program 1 I have been very fortunate to have such an excellent mentee. Megan has progressed both professionally and personally exponentially since mid last year – a very short period for the considerable progress she has made.

“Looking back at her ‘Expression of Interest’ I feel that I have assisted in increasing her ‘confidence/belief’ in herself and Megan has now accepted the role of managing director of the company.

“Megan’s desire to ‘streamline’ her business has been achieved by regular staff and directors meetings, as well as many other managerial initiatives.

“On the marketing side I have mainly acted as a ‘sounding board’ and I was delighted to see Cruise Express’ success at the 2011 ICCA Awards.”– Denise Blackmore

‘The program has benefitted me by giving me the opportunity to meet with a mentor who has helped me learn more about the travel industry and management practices as well as recognising my self-worth.
“It has been a very open, honest and relaxed process which has worked well for me and Helen. So the advantages of being in the program are it will allow you to achieve your own success….” – Rebecca Maizey

What makes an ideal young leader? According to research by Development Dimensions International (DDI) as published in AFR Boss in June 2010 “Young Executives 2010”, winners tend to be:

  • Ambitious: But retain a balance between ambition and arrogance
  • Decisive: Not afraid of making decisions at an operational, tactical and strategic level. They don’t hesitate to take action and responsibility for driving change and can handle lots of information from a variety of perspectives.
  • Brave: They are confident enough to walk into a situation and hold their own. To do this they need to be flexible, knowledgeable and have impact.
  • Empowering: They have the ability to push decision-making downwards. They promote other people’s ownership while still providing guidance and support to their team.
  • Entrepreneurial: They seek out innovative solutions to problems, challenge set paradigms, and reject the status quo. They focus on external drivers, not just internal ones.
  • Visionary: They are able to set strategic direction and understand the short and long-term issues. They tend to be innovative and are able to put guidelines in place to set the pace of change and make things happen.

In all instances, the AFR Boss Young Executives of 2010 had a mentor and some had two!

TIME does not guarantee to turn one of the travel and tourism industry’s prospective young leaders into an AFR Boss Young Executive of the Year. However we guarantee to give them (and you?) the opportunity to fast-track their career as a future leader within your company or theirs.

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