I have had the privilege of consulting several start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners in the last three years. Majority of my clients are one-man tour operators with no one else to turn to when they need a sound board. My role is not always to have all the answers, neither do I know everything there is to know. Rather than playing mister know-it-all, I engage with my clients in reflective and constructive conversation. Sometimes I ask leading questions, other times I listen, echo what they’ve said and merely suggest another line of thought, which brings clients to their own answers. Some clients need more direct strategic input and others are kind-of sure of their case, but just need that last assurance from someone objective like myself. It is such a pleasure to see someone sit back, reflect on what we discussed and witness how they have new courage to take the next step, whatever it may be.
I am also privileged to have lectured tourism at several higher education institutions in and around Cape Town. I’m still involved at one specific university, teaching at pre- and graduate level. My studies in higher education teaching and learning and several years of experience in teaching has taught me lots about different approaches to teaching and facilitating…it’s not always a case of “telling” students what they need to know, but rather a combination of that and leading them towards exploring, encountering and constructing new knowledge. Some students need more assistance than others, be it in understanding, applying, analysing or whatever the task at hand may be.
…I don’t mean to compare my clients with students. Rather, I’m trying to highlight that the process of helping people, be it clients or students, through their inherent boundaries and limitations towards newly grasped concepts and/or awaiting opportunities, stays the same. We’re not meant to learn alone. Instead, we’re social beings meant to thrive together!
My professional career has taken me through various components of tour operating, hoteling, travel coordinating and marketing. I have gained valuable experience, insights, skills and contacts. I am a product of many others’ training and leadership. I’ve had the chances to ask questions, learn, try, make mistakes, conquer challenges and taste success. I have studied, worked and played. Today, I have the privilege of sharing my knowledge, skills and experience with many others in various settings, for the benefit of the greater travel and tourism industry. I am humbled by this privilege.