Sound boarding and consulting

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.

What triggered Charlize’s interest in travel and tourism

I love hearing my clients’ stories. I recently asked a young job seeker from Gauteng, Charlize Tobin, what triggered and shaped her interest in the travel and tourism industry. Her answer warmed my heart. Charlize agreed that I could share it here on my blog:

“…it all started at a very young age when I wanted to be a flight attendant and as I grew up I learned more and more about which sector flight attending fell under which was travel and tourism. But as soon as I started my travel and tourism course back in 2012, that’s when I was taught so much more about the tourism industry which left me wanting to know more and more each passing year; at first it was just about western Cape – places I never knew existed and it moved it’s way all around the world which left me astonished at all the beauty which lies around us.

After I finished my first course I was unsure as to what I wanted to do within the tourism industry because there were a lot to choose from, until I did an internship at Harvey World Travel Centurion and that’s when I knew exactly which two directions I would like to take.
What I enjoyed most about travel consulting was being able to help others experience a leisure/business trip of a life time to its fullest – which can change the lives forever. One has to have a passion for travel and tourism and a humble personality which will attract clients to an agency and build a relationship which will have them coming back for more…