Alison Crabb, who has spent almost half her life working for Flight Centre, has many great memories.
"Starting with the company in the early days - when Flight Centre wasn't a recognised brand, I had the privilege of working very closely with founding director Geoff Harris, who, over the last 20 years, has been a wonderful mentor," said Alison.
"I would have to say attending the global conference is by far the most memorable experience. Not only is it lots of fun, it is so inspiring to be able to watch people achieve outstanding results. Having the privilege of being on stage along with everyone in the nation to achieve nation awards is really something very special."
Today, however the spotlight is firmly on Alison, as her achievements with the company are being recognised at the 2012 Victorian Telstra Business Women’s Awards – Alison has been nominated in the Hudson Private and Corporate Sector Award category.
"It's a huge honour to have been nominated as a finalist. I am very proud of this achievement as it means I can use this award to not only assist with my efforts in Cambodia, but it is also a wonderful acknowledgement of Flight Centre - of what a great company it is and the opportunities it creates for its people," said Alison.
"I am incredibly lucky to have had these opportunities and very blessed to work for such a fabulous company."
More than anything else, it is Alison’s work in Cambodia that is particularly inspiring.
"I have an enormous passion for Cambodia and travel there three to four times per year. I am involved in an orphanage called the, "Cambodian Children's Trust," set up by a young Australian girl. By travelling to CCT so frequently means that I can watch the children grow and develop with each visit."
Alison's career with Flight Centre began when she opened a Flight Centre shopfront in Geelong in 1993, and was promoted to an Area Leader in 1995. Within eight years, Alison was managing a group of outlets across Victoria and Tasmania.
To lift sales, Alison introduced an employee empowerment initiative based on the strong vision that, "it takes a village to raise a child." Managers followed her vision that their area would stand for community, a sense of belonging and working together.
Her talents were again recognised when she was promoted to State Leader for Victoria and Tasmania in 2007 - her initiatives and sales strategies lifted her area’s retail profit by 87 per cent in four years. She is now responsible for 163 retail travel shops and 850 travel consultants.
Having worked in travel for almost 20 years, Alison has observed the changing travel landscape.
"It appears that even when consumers are careful with discretionary spending, having a holiday is now an essential part of life. Although the internet is a fantastic way for clients to gather information to assist in selecting the perfect holiday, with so much information, it can be very confusing and a lot of recommendations can be conflicting. Having a travel consultant help in recommending and organising the perfect holiday not only provides peace of mind to clients, it also provides 24/7 assistance."