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.

 


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.

 

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 BBTM, Baldwins Travel, Sevenoaks Travel and Travelux – Tenterden. Our head office is in Tunbridge Wells and we have 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 nearly 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.

 

Martin Pearce, Omega Executive Travel

Martin Pearce

Name of business and location?

Omega Executive Travel based in Hersham, Surrey.

Your position within the business

Managing Director and Co-Owner.

Your background

I started in travel straight from school in 1974, and after a few changes in companies including leisure and business travel, multiples and independents, myself and three others set up Omega Travel in 1982.

The overall profile of the business

Primarily a business travel agency, but we do have a leisure division. Our type of client is widely varied but our main area of business is currently event companies and oil and gas. Our leisure clients tend to be high-end bespoke holidays, although we are happy to serve anyone who wants to be a customer.

The values that are personally important to you

My values tend to be very old-fashioned, I firmly believe in customer satisfaction and keeping my team happy and productive. I have a very high staff retention. We embrace modern technology and methods but this is always underpinned by the procedures and methods that have kept us going for more than 35 years  

 


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