Ian Le-Fevre - Travel Counsellors
Gringley on the Hill, Nottinghamshire
Why I want to be a 2019 Travel Weekly Cover Star
I have a story to tell which will undoubtedly resonate with lots of my former, current and future travel industry colleagues. My life in travel started in 1993 as a Travel Consultant at Lunn Poly, this followed a last minute change to my college work placement at Thomas Cook - I never actually wanted to work in a travel agency but I did want to travel the world...as cheaply as possible! I started working in the travel industry and it was amazing, I was creating dreams and magical moments by selling ideas from pictures in a brochure and using a computer system that was basically a big calculator. I worked hard and became a Store Manager at 21 at a store that was almost 50 miles away from where I was living. I was like a sponge learning others around me and challenging myself with secondment roles to cover maternity in other stores. In 1999 I took a Regional Manager opportunity at Co-op Travelcare where I worked around the country as a Regional Manager for 10 years seeing the number of stores grow as the brand changed to Travelcare and then to the Co-operative Travel. I was promoted to the role of National Business Development Manager which I held for 2 years upto the merger with Thomas Cook, at which point I took the opportunity of redundancy. Although it was the right time for me to leave, it was a huge leap into the unknown and my emotions on leaving an industry I had known for so long were tainted with bitterness. After a little while licking my wounds I was approached by Apple to work for them - a globally renowned brand with great product and where customers and co-workers are 100% at the heart of everything they do - I loved it, though it didn't give me the buzz that travel did. I was approached by Boots and I explored the opportunity further and decided to try another industry this time with a heavy focus on healthcare - though whilst I loved my team, the product which for most customers was a grudge purchase and admittance of getting older, didn't excite me. I started looking for a role with a wider geographical remit as that wasn't what I was getting from Apple or Boots. I applied for a role at EE managing a region of brand new concept stores stretching from the borders of Scotland to the M25 - it definitely ticked the geography box! After driving almost 55,000 miles in 18 months, and spending most of the week at the opposite end of the country to my husband Marcus, my dog Sid and my mum (especially she isn't getting any younger). I decided I needed a change. So I was narrowing down choices; 1) I knew I didn't want to do a lot of travelling for business (well not in the UK in my car anyway) 2) I knew other industries weren't giving me a buzz like the travel industry did 3) I still loved holidays and travelling overseas It was like a customer enquiry matching back solutions to their wants and needs, so I established that I actually wanted to be home based and I absolutely need to get the buzz back from what I loved the most, the travel industry After researching options the one brand that kept resonating in my head was Travel Counsellors driven by the global community and togetherness - I wanted to contribute to their success, be a part of the vibe and celebrations at conference and not just be a social media onlooker. So in May 2019 I opened my Travel Counsellors business and it's growing well and at a much faster pace than I had anticipated. I am working hard, putting in long hours and I am genuinely the happiest I've been at work in the last 8 years - Marcus and my mum both say I'm a nicer person to be around too, hard to hear but undoubtedly true!! The moral of the story, the grass really isn't greener, other industries don't always scratch the itch - try them, but don't be afraid to go back to what you love and do what truly makes you happy. Be brave and venture out on your own by opening a bricks and mortar high street store, or by starting your own home-working franchise like I have, either way you can really do things your way without the red tape from a head office saying you can't.