• Spotlight on...

spotlight on...

HOLLIE COFFEY | Destination and Marketing Partnerships Director

 

1. What's your job role at Visit Kent? As Destination Director, my focus is on building new relationships with tourism businesses in Kent and ensuring current investors make the most of their partnership with Visit Kent. I am also responsible for organising investor networking events, and developing the Corporate Partnership programme.  
2. What part of your role do you most enjoy? I really enjoy meeting our partners, discovering places and the stories behind them. I am always really fascinated by the work that goes on behind the scenes of our partners’ businesses.
3. Why did you decide to join the team? I was attracted to the diversity of the role and the opportunity to build on my partnership experience as well as using my marketing and event management skills. After working in an international organisation previously, the fact that I’m able to meet with partners face-to-face a lot more appealed to me.
4. What is your favourite part about working in the tourism industry? Definitely the people and the passion they have for what they do.
5. What is your career background? After studying for my degree in creative advertising, I worked for several years in sales and event management at hotel chains overseas and the UK, including our very own Tudor Park. Following that I worked in the international education sector for an association of language schools based in Canterbury managing exhibitions and conferences around the world, B2B marketing campaigns and relationships with our members.
6. What achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of combatting my extreme fear of heights by sky-diving from 12,000 feet from a small plane and taking up climbing as a hobby.
7. Which well-known personality (past or present) would you most like to meet? I would really like to meet Banksy, to find out who’s the man (or woman) behind the graffiti art.
8. Tell us something that not many people know about you? Before I moved to Kent, I lived in Queenstown, New Zealand for a couple of years, the adventure tourism capital of the world!
9. What is your favourite book/which book are you reading at the moment? I’m currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I am also a massive Harry Potter fan and couldn’t put down the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.
10. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? I try to live by the mantra that it is always best to say yes to any opportunity that presents itself, especially if it takes you out of your comfort zone!


 

David Curtis-Brignell | Deputy Chief executive 

1. What's your job role at Visit Kent? I concentrate on the way in which Visit Kent supports its investor partners through marketing, sales, research, communications and events. Over the past year, we have redesigned what we do for our partners and how we deliver this and the feedback has been really positive. For example, we have introduced Service Level Agreements with all of our local authority partners. This ensures that we are delivering what they want and need and it also enables us to report back on progress and outcomes. 
2. What part of your role do you most enjoy? I really enjoy meeting our partners and getting to understand their issues and challenges. This really helps us to define our focus for delivering activity and support across the county.
3. Why did you decide to join the team? Sandra Matthews-Marsh asked me to set up Visit Herts in mid-2015 and the opportunity to start a destination management organisation (DMO), from scratch was too much of a temptation! The new partnerships team in Kent was formed following our experiences in Hertfordshire and I am delighted to be leading those teams in both counties.
4. What is your favourite part about working in the tourism industry? Easy - the people. My involvement with the professional organisation, the Tourism Society - which Sandra and I have both had the honour of chairing - has brought me into contact with a lot of senior travel and tourism heroes over the years; people who are generous with their time and knowledge.
5. What is your career background? I started in local government working across Tourism Information Centres (TICs), beach huts, theatre management, marketing, attracting and organising major sports events. I then spent nine years at the English Tourist Board (ETB), including five years heading up the travel trade and commercial teams, before moving out into the world of international hotel chains and overseas tour operating. My hotel career was initially focussed on marketing and later moved to development and acquisition, which gave me a new insight into how to finance, build and operate properties.
6. What achievement are you most proud of? This has changed over the years. In my early career, my greatest sense of achievement was linked to the sporting events, which brought huge revenues to the area. At ETB, I was proud of developing a new way of working with the trade and creating the big trade event which still exists all these years later. Now, I would say it has been starting Visit Herts from nothing, coupled with the work we are now doing in Kent.
7. Which well-known personality (past or present) would you most like to meet? Sir David Attenborough - I'd like to know where he gets all his energy from!
8. Tell us something that not many people know about you? I have been a church organist since my teens and although I no longer have a ‘full time’ parish, I keep my hands (and feet) in as a locum.
9. What is your favourite book/which book are you reading at the moment? Books are a weakness of mine, I have far too many! I am currently reading Agatha Christie's notebooks, which give a fascinating insight into how she planned and executed all of those mysteries.
10. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? Never assume! I also remember a member of the royal family being quoted as saying: "Never pass the opportunity of a loo stop!" But that's another story…!


 

Jackie westlake obe | chief operating officer

1. What's your job role at Visit Kent? I am operations director and am responsible for the good governance and administrative functions of the organisation. This includes having oversight of national funding bids and the subsequent delivery of required outcomes
2. What part of your role do you most enjoy? I really enjoy working with the team to deliver high quality and successful national, regional and local bids that will improve our support for the visitor economy in Kent and Hertfordshire.
3. Why did you decide to join the team? Sandra is an extremely persuasive CEO and convinced me that the organisation was a great place to work. She was spot on!
4. What is your favourite part about working in the tourism industry? The people are amazingly positive and I have visited some fantastic places and attractions that I wouldn’t otherwise have been to.
5. What is your career background? I was formerly a senior civil servant in central Government, working in the Home Office, Cabinet Office, Prison Service and Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
6. What achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of working on the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill, and programme managing the Together Women Programme. This was aimed at keeping women offenders out of the prison system by working with them to deliver their sentences in the community.
7. Which well-known personality (past or present) would you most like to meet? Elvis Presley (I’m a not-so-secret fan!).
8. What is your favourite hobby? I really enjoy going to the opera, particularly seeing new works.
9. Tell us something that not many people know about you? Before I went to University, I worked on a kibbutz in the Negev Desert. I became a dab hand at fruit picking, which could come in handy in the Garden of England!
10. What is the one thing you would like to change about the world to make it a better place? There is still a long way to go on gender equality, and the impact of domestic violence is staggering.  There are still, on average, two women a week killed as a result of domestic violence (Office of National Statistics, 2015), and one in four women in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes (Crime Survey of England and Wales, 2013/14).
11. What is your favourite book/which book are you reading at the moment? I have just finished reading Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall. It gives a great explanation of how geopolitics governs and why countries behave as they do. My favourite book is Right Ho Jeeves by P G Wodehouse.
12. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? Don’t expect perfection in the first few weeks of your new job.  It will take a couple of months to find your way round the organisation, including where you fit in.  Be prepared to ask lots of questions, though and don’t forget that most people will be willing you to succeed and will want to help you.