Name: Michelle Cook
Position title: Business Development Manager WA
Company name: Collette
When and why did you join the industry?
January 1993. I enjoy helping people and I’ve always wanted to work in an industry that helps to create memories to last a lifetime. To show them the world, the different cultures and to experience life from a different perspective.
What do you like most about your job?
The excitement of talking to people about their holidays, helping them to create memories to last a lifetime and completing their bucket list. I love seeing their photos and hearing all about their trip when they come back, ready to book their next adventure.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
I started as a work experience student, then became a junior travel consultant, then a senior travel consultant, to actually owning my own travel agency. From there, my agency was awarded and recognised as the State and National winner for the best agency Australia-wide from my colleagues within my first year of business.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
My grandpa. He said to me, “Study hard, work hard and make a name for yourself. Make sure people know who you are, be proud of where you came from and never forget how you got there. Always stand up for what you believe in, never take anything for granted and always give back to the universe.” I live by his words.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
There are too many people to list but if I had to choose, it would be all the working mothers in the industry who have worked hard to achieve their goals and to be recognised for their achievements whilst raising a family and finding that work/ life balance. I take my hat off to you all.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
Collette’s family values are reflected in its successful tours and products that it offers. Being a family owned company that has been in business for nearly 100 years, they are passionate about looking after people and always go that extra mile. We want our clients to start their holiday from the moment they step out their front door to the chauffeur in their driveway waiting to take them to the airport. This is a unique Collette service.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
I would love to visit the Maldives in summer, France in spring, Canada in winter and Brazil in autumn.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
Every time I travel with my family it is always a memorable experience and we have been fortunate to have travelled to many countries. It’s how we grow as a family and what bonds us together. We create our own memories by experiencing a different country, culture or tradition that the children could not learn through school. Having the opportunity to travel the world with my children is probably the best gift that I can give them as I believe it builds confidence and character into becoming upstanding citizens. There is no price on family memories.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
Extra suitcases – a travel agent with a shopping addiction is a very, very bad combination.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
Sofia Vergara to Milan and shop till we drop.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
I believe that more people will start to travel the world because they will begin to see that life isn’t always about working and paying bills. It’s about living, enjoying the life you live, experiencing a different culture, being able to say that they have been there and to create their own memories that they can talk about for years to come. Everyone has a bucket list and we will see a trend in more people going out to fulfil this.