Meet the Non-Executive Directors

Steven Esom, Non-Executive Chairman

Steven is an experienced Board member of consumer facing businesses and chairs a number of boards across the food and retail industry. These include British Retailing Consortium, Cranswick Plc, Advantage Travel Partnership and GB Boxing responsible for developing Olympic medal potential boxers. He is also the major shareholder of Product Chain, a specialist sales and trade marketing agency established for over 20 years focusing on developing successful brands into multiple retailers, food service and wholesale sectors.

 

His retail career included Executive Director at Marks & Spencer responsible for Food, prior to that Managing Director of Waitrose from 2003, rapidly expanding the business with two major acquisitions and leading the successful repositioning of Waitrose as a national fresh food lead retailer, after initially joining the John Lewis Partnership as Waitrose’s Director of Buying. Before joining the Partnership, Steven spent most of his career at Sainsbury’s in commercial roles, including a period with its US subsidiary Shaws, based in Boston. He has served as a Non-Executive Director of Carphone Warehouse and a founder Non-Executive Director of Ocado.

 


 

Jeanne Lally, Travel Bureau

Jeanne Lally

Name of business and location?

Travel Bureau Gosforth, approximately a half a mile to the north of Newcastle city centre.

Your position within the business

Managing Partner with responsibility for marketing and commercial.

Your background

35 years in travel industry, the majority as a tour operator starting on reservations with Thomson Holidays regional office, then onto agency sales.  Prior to being in travel I worked for Marks & Spencer, Wilkinson Sword and as a secretary in an engineering, pollution control business sending technicians and equipment all over the world.

The overall profile of the business

Travel Bureau has been in business for 55 years, so has a great local heritage and is split 50/50 business travel and leisure with 18 staff.  We are all about a bespoke approach, our proposition and focus is on customer service delivering excellent value on both sides of the business. Leisure specialises in honeymoons, cruise and long-haul multi-sector holidays.

The values that are personally important to you

Respect and integrity are top of my list personally and professionally as well as enjoying the job every day and investing in the team of people you work with.  We are in the most amazing industry which we sometimes forget because of all the challenges it brings. What we sell to our customers has a genuine emotional connection helping to create memories and experiences that they want to share with us when it works well and when it doesn’t!   

 


 

James Beagrie, Meon Valley Travel Group

James Beagrie

Name of business and location?

Meon Valley Business Travel Ltd. with branches in Petersfield and Leicester.

Your position within the business

Managing Director.

Your background

James has spent his life travelling the world for both business and pleasure. After founding and building one of the most successful Insurance and Worldwide Emergency Medical Assistance Companies at 23, James joined the Board of Aon UK Plc helping steer the business through acquisition and consolidation before further indulging his passion for travel by acquiring Meon Valley Travel from First Choice Plc in 2002. 

James is currently non-executive Director of the Advantage Travel Partnership and an active supporter of The Focus Partnership. He has personally and in business won national recognition and numerous industry accolades underscoring his reputation as a straightforward nice guy with a talent for good business. 

A keen pilot himself he enjoys classic Motorsport, plays golf badly, lives for his family, shoots, ski’s, and loves to work. James' experience in travel and the wider business world is encyclopedic and his passion exhausting.

The overall profile of the business

We are in the help business.  We never close.  Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year the Meon Valley Travel Group is a UK based professional buyer for worldwide travel requirements.  Drawing upon 50 years’ experience Meon delivers three core specialties of Leisure, Business and 24-hour Emergency Assistance, underpinned by a hunger for excellence and proven appetite for quality, care and value. Every time we answer the phone we either save a life, save money or fulfil a dream.

The values that are personally important to you

Be brave and care for those around you.

 


 

Jackie Steadman, Traveltime World

Jackie Steadman

Name of business and location?

Traveltime World Limited based on the High Street in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire with a managed office in Manchester.  Our wholly owned subsidiary, Athena Holidays is a UK Coach holiday business, primarily servicing the ‘silver market’.

Your position within the business

Director and 50% shareholder in the business.

Your background

Came into travel by ‘default’ having previously worked in telecommunications for Avis Car Rental, later moving over to UK Operations for Avis.  Started Traveltime World in December 1994.

The overall profile of the business

Primarily a leisure retail travel agency with a turnover of £2.8m, with a total of 7 staff – a mixture of full-time or part-time, specialising in luxury travel and activity holidays.  We also have a UK coach holiday business, Athena Holidays (50% profit sharing business partner) running UK holidays and day trips, targeting the ‘silver market’.

The values that are personally important to you

Family values, giving quality time to my family and friends.

 


 

Jimmy Martin, Jimmy Martin Travel. Ltd

Jimmy Martin

Name of business and location?

Jimmy Martin Travel. Ltd Location - central city location in Edinburgh.

Your position within the business

Owner.

Your background

37 years in the industry, from brochure boy to owning my own agency. Owner and Managing Director, teaboy, sales, junior-every title you can have.... but first and foremost, a seller on the counter.

I have only applied for one previous job, got it and went on to run one of the biggest independent agencies in Scotland of its time, having started as the junior/teaboy/brochure-boy, working up to MD, before the intervention of the internet and then left to start my own agency and do it my way, as they say.

The overall profile of the business

The business is primarily leisure, although we have a few business accounts.

The values that are personally important to you

The values and principles that are most important to me are the ones I have always lived by, regardless of whether I was working for someone else or myself, and that is to give the best personal service I can and treat each client like they are booking their first holiday with me, regardless of cost, and to give this service the way I would like to be served when I am buying something. The jewel in the crown is always to have people leaving the shop with a smile, again, whether they book or not...I have had many people come back to me over the years because I/we have been honest and upfront about what I am selling.

We are a small agency and the recommendation factor is our key to our success and as it continues, it makes me proud that I have stuck with the values I know best.

 


 

Nick Marks, Baldwins Travel Group

Nick Marks

Name of business and location?

Baldwins Travel Group, HQ: 25/27 Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 2AJ

Your position within the business

Joint Managing Director

Your background

I have been in Travel for 19 years, before that I was a buyer for Armani and DKNY.

The overall profile of the business

70% retail, 25% Business Travel, 5% FX. 60 Staff members.

 

The values that are personally important to you

Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don't let anyone limit your dreams. #Quote Donovan Bailey

 


 

Christian Gleave, Review Travel Ltd

Christian Gleave

Name of business and location?

Review Travel Limited

Head Office: 117 Wilmslow Road, Handforth, SK9 3ER

Hertfordshire: 104 High Street, London Colney, Hertfordshire, AL2 1QL

Lancashire: Suite 5, Shorebury Point, Amy Johnson Way, Blackpool, FY4 2RF

 

Your position within the business

Chief Executive Officer

Your background

Over 30 years in the travel industry. Acquired a majority share-holding in Review Travel in 2002. My job role now is to steer the company’s overall business strategy.

The overall profile of the business

23 staff

Business Travel only

Specialist MICE and group travel division

Hotel specialists

Review Travel has invested heavily in leading technology therefore we have the ability to provide a range of customised online booking systems.

We appreciate costs have to be measured therefore Review Travel has the ability to provide bespoke invoicing and detailed management information for more effective time management.

The values that are personally important to you

Integrity, Commitment, Confidence, Flexibility and Perseverance.

 


 

Tim Brookes-Parry, Apex Travel

Tim Brookes-Parry

Name of business and location?

Apex Travel, Rhuddlan North Wales (1966-2016…. celebrating 50th years in business!)

(also TTG Top 50 UK Agent nominated- Wales shortlisted top 5)

Your position within the business

Sole Proprietor

 

Your background

Shrewsbury School 1971/76

Midland Bank 1977/82

Apex Travel Proprietor from 1982-present day (34 years)

The overall profile of the business

Primarily leisure business, specialising in sports holidays/groups etc…). 3 full time staff.

The values that are personally important to you

Every day we are responsible for making ‘dreams come true’ for all of those around us, and I believe that in these changing times travel agents have to be ‘big enough to matter and yet small enough to care’. That is why the Advantage Travel Partnership is so vital to the future of the independent travel agent, achieving business goals and aspirations, through financial strength and technological pioneering.

 


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