In celebration of Women’s Month, I recently chatted to Ravella Lambert, CEO at iGo Travel, to find out what this month means to her and what are some of the barriers she’s overcome as a woman in the travel industry.
You are currently the MD of iGo Travel. Could you briefly tell me about iGo Travel and your role as MD?
Ravella Lambert: iGO Travel is an online travel agency that is run by an all-girl management team. It is regarded as one of the country’s ‘Top 5’ online travel agencies. iGO Travel offers much more than simply leisure or corporate travel, they care about their clients and have a passion to please. Seeing a gap in the market recently, they have also become specialists in schools, sports and group travel arrangements
My first position in the tourism industry was with Flight Centre where I started as a consultant, but soon moved up the ranks, eventually heading up their corporate division in Johannesburg. With a yearning to return to Durban, my home town, my husband got offered a job in the coastal city, we then returned and soon after I launched iGO Travel, with then partner Rob Crankshaw.
Targeting both the leisure and corporate traveller, I created a boutique agency that serves a niche clientele, with a focus on building sincere relationships and guaranteed travel experiences of a lifetime.
iGO Travel is an innovative, online travel agency which combines internet and communications technology with dedicated personal service, offering its clients the best in travel coordination and planning. I oversee the entire operations of the business, through all our Brands at iGO.
You started your travel agency in 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis. What was your biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome?
Lambert: Starting a business in a financial downturn is extremely challenging in every aspect. Ensuring your brand becomes a trusted brand, that your cash flow remains positive despite expenses, and having the right team around you is a real challenge and also essential to making one’s business a success.”
What has been the highlight of your career?
Lambert: The highlight of my career at iGO is seeing the travel managers in our business achieve personal highs with regards to their targets and also witnessing iGO grow in brand awareness and size.
What barriers did you face, as a woman, becoming successful in your field, and how did you overcome them?
Lambert: I have never really felt any barriers being a woman as I am confident with my abilities.
Who is your biggest influence/role model/icon and what have you learnt from them?
Lambert: My father, my mother, my children, friends and people I work with. I learn each day and I am influenced by the way I was raised. I continue to be influenced now when I am raising my own children and I continually learn through people I interact with. There is not only one person in a business as I believe we evolve based on our experiences together.
What is your view on Women’s Month in SA? How do you feel about Women’s Day in general?
Lambert: I am proud of all SA women and honour the accomplishments of the women who fought for our rights many years ago. It is important for us to acknowledge our past and celebrate the present and ensure that we continue to empower women from a young age
Do you think it’s important having a month dedicated to women?
Lambert: I personally do not feel that it is necessary to dedicate a month to women. I am surrounded (within my organisation and in my personal life) by strong, wonderful talented women on a daily basis. Women should be appreciated on a continuous basis, not have a specific time where they are made to feel important.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give to women pursuing a career in the travel industry?
Lambert: To be who they are as an individual, value themselves and push for what they believe in, and lastly never to compromise your values.
Taken from Biz Community by Evan-Lee Courie 24 August 2015