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!   

 


 

Joanne Dooey, Love to Travel

Joanne Dooey

Name of business and location?

Love to Travel – we have offices in Coatbridge and Motherwell in Lanarkshire 

Your position within the business

Owner/Director

Your background

I started my career over 30 years ago in Lunn Poly on the counter selling holidays. I moved to Going Places as they formed from Pickfords and Hoggs, as a manager moving to regional manager within three years covering Scotland. I was then regional manager for Thomas Cook, staying for a few years before moving to the Co-operative Travel as regional sales manager looking after retail shops in Scotland and Cumbria, then latterly with Thomas Cook so over 18 years managing retail stores in a regional manager role.

I set up Love to Travel three years ago and we are mainly leisure travel. We are also a member of Advantage Managed Services.

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 that are important to me are integrity and honesty. I like to work hard and play hard.  Always treat your team and customers the way you like to be treated, as they are the ones who make your business.

 


Sharon May, Worldwide Travel Solutions

Sharon May

Name of business and location?

Worldwide Travel Solutions based in Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire

Your position within the business

Proprietor

Your background

Started my career with Thomas Cook Retail and rapidly promoted through the ranks Northern Relief, Assistant Manager in Barrow-in-Furness then onto Chester prior to being promoted to Manager of Sale and then Stockport in Cheshire. That was followed by Northern Sales Manager for Avro, based at Manchester Airport, before moving to their sister Company, Apollo Travel as Project Manager. After being made redundant I progressed to Global Travel Group as Training Manager before starting up my own business. It was during my time at Avro and Global which gave me the desire to set up on my own.

The overall profile of the business

Worldwide Travel Solutions is a retail operation which has been trading for 20 years and employs four members of the team. Initially, the business focused on the VFR Caribbean market however the business grew quickly through word of mouth referrals and transformed to a busy retail operation dealing with a diverse clientele. I’m so grateful to the clients who have followed me on the 20-year journey plus the turnover grows as we gain new clients. Customer service has always been at the heart of what we do.

The values that are personally important to you

Each day I try to align my words and behaviour to my core values. I am so grateful for everything which is around me and I value time with family and friends. However, honesty, passion, enthusiasm, respect, integrity, determination and perseverance are amongst my top values. All my values and my belief help me to achieve my dreams.

 

Chris Marks, Baldwins Travel Group

Chris Marks

Name of business and location?

Baldwins Travel Group, incorporating Baldwins Business Travel Management (BBTM) and Baldwins Travel. Our head office is in Tunbridge Wells and we have 8 retail outlets throughout Kent and East Sussex.

Your position within the business

Joint Managing Director

Your background

Having been raised in a family with travel in its blood, and having spent some years following a different career path outside of the Baldwins Travel Group, I have a well-balanced view on sales, operations, multi-branch management, HR, leadership, and training. I have a passion for customer service and doing things the right way.

The overall profile of the business

Employing over 70 team members, BTG is a family run business with values to match. We have grown to eight branches as of 2018, with our focus on putting the needs of the client first. Selling luxury and tailor-made holidays, with a strong foreign exchange service to match. We have a successful Corporate Travel offering, trading as BBTM and are very proud to be longstanding members of Advantage.

The values that are personally important to you

Treating people as you’d expect to be treated yourself both when referring to clients/customers and team members alike. Mutual respect. Work Hard, Travel Harder. Resilience, Positivity, Creativity, and Enthusiasm.

 

Suzanne Horner, Gray Dawes Group

Suzanne Horner

Name of business and location?

Gray Dawes Group, head-office based in Colchester, Essex, with seven regional offices throughout the UK.

Your position within the business

CEO

The overall profile of the business

Often operating as an extension of our clients’ own organisation, Gray Dawes is best known for providing award-winning business travel management solutions. However, there’s much more to us than that. Gray Dawes Group is made up of Gray Dawes Travel, Gray Dawes Events and Gray Dawes Holidays. While our three business units each specialise in a slightly different market, focussed on different audiences and client bases, they all share a common ethos. To do things better. Better travel. Better holidays. Better events. That’s the Gray Dawes way – to do things better. We strive to achieve this through our combination of innovative technology and a personal touch service. Proprietary travel solutions development by our in-house technology team compliment the exceptional attention to detail provided by our experienced and passionate team of travel experts. With eight offices situated across the UK, Gray Dawes Group employs over 300 people and our impressive growth, both organically and through acquisition, has made us one of the top 10 independently owned TMCs in the business.

The values that are personally important to you

Honesty is one of the most important values to me and one which runs through everything we do at Gray Dawes Group. I strongly believe in honest communication, both internally within staff and externally with our clients. It’s what has helped us maintain our strong reputation and respect within the industry, as well as with our clients, who on average have a 10-year tenure with us. As a business, we also continuously embrace innovation. My senior leadership team and I actively seek out new initiatives to help make our clients’ experience better. Such tenacity is encouraged in every member of the Gray Dawes Group, nurtured in a caring but ambitious environment that rewards hard work personal growth.

 

Paul Hardwick, Fred Olsen Travel

Paul Hardwick

Name of business and location?

Fred. Olsen Travel

Your position within the business

Head of Commercial – my role covers all commercial aspects across the Fred. Olsen Travel business alongside managing our Business Travel department and our retail network of 14 travel agencies.

Your background

Having started as a trainee travel agent back in 1997 I worked for an independent, Advantage member agency in Norwich for 8 years. In 2005 I took on the challenge of starting up my own agency specialising in Business & Luxury Travel. I ran the imaginatively titled ‘Hardwick Travel’ for 4 years before selling my database and joining Fred. Olsen Travel and amalgamating my business into a newly purchased travel agency they had acquired in Norwich. I helped grow business aggressively in this branch before taking on a Senior Retail Management role overseeing their other 6 retail agencies. Quickly I moved into a Group Retail Manager role also overseeing the company’s Business Travel department whilst working on an expansion onto the South Coast and further acquisitions and new openings to grow our retail agency portfolio to 14 shops. In 2019 I took on the role of Head of Commercial adding responsibility for the commercial aspects of our home-working franchise and online businesses.

The overall profile of the business

Fred. Olsen Travel has been trading since 1988 and is part of the Fred. Olsen Ltd. Group. The company consists of 14 retail agencies, a Business Travel department specialising in Group and Marine Travel, the GoCruise & Travel home-working franchise, the Fred. Holidays tour operation and also operate as UK General Sales agents for Star Clippers, Collette Tours & various river cruise lines including Amadeus.

The values that are personally important to you

The values that are most important to me personally are honesty, hard work, positivity, and integrity. I love the travel industry as I find most people match these core values and the enthusiasm, passion, and work ethic throughout is unrivalled. The dynamism across all of the sector plus openness to share ideas and best practices between businesses and competitors continues to drive me and the Travel Industry forward. I want to be better today than I was yesterday and feel this ambition is met by Fred. Olsen Travel and the industry as a whole.

 

James Beagrie, Meon Valley Travel

Name of business and location                          

Meon Valley Travel. Based in Petersfield, Leicester and Dublin

Your position within the business                        

Managing Director

The overall profile of the business                        

Borderless Specialist Business Travel Management providing 24/7 emergency medical assistance. International and professional sector corporate travel management, holidays and white label Affinity Partnerships.

 

The values that are personally important to you

Through Repats, Business and Leisure we save lives, save money and sell the dream. Customers range from private clients through to global brands commanding savings, safety, ground-breaking innovation and the perfect blend of talent and technology. Our staff are like a fine coffee…following an award-winning recipe of talent and experience complimented with a little spirit and perfectly blended for maturity. When harvested we infuse raw talent with the knowledge to satisfy every palate. We are in an industry that actively invests in every step of the process from sourcing the brightest beans to delivering the most authentic value. I believe in fair trade and care for every team member in cultivating the most delicious experience that customers can trust.

 

OK
Use of Cookies
This site uses cookies to help make it more useful and reliable. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies.
You can find out more and turn cookies off by reading our privacy policy.
close