Q&A with Mariam Alkhal & her advice for young leaders…

Mariam-Alkhal
INSPIRING ARTICLE by JC Inspire
Mariam Alkhal – Director Traveller Services Australia & NZ – Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Greatness has no age limits…

What is your proudest career moment so far?

I have had many proud moments courtesy of the team I am leading. I am very fortunate to work alongside a team of individuals who are passionate and motivated in everything they do and who also genuinely care for and respect the people they work with.

My proudest moment came when I was appointed my current role as Director Traveller Services, Australia and New Zealand. Previously this role had been filled by people who had many more years of experience than me – particularly senior management experience, which I didn’t have when I was appointed. I became the first to be promoted internally into this role, and the youngest member of the Australia/New Zealand leadership team. It also gave hope to the wider team that this role was attainable.

What opportunities came easy and what ones did you have to push for?

I can’t think of a time where an opportunity had been given easily. Starting out as a travel consultant and without any formal qualifications, each promotion or opportunity was rewarded through hard work, commitment and dedication.

What is the biggest hurdle you have overcome in your career so far? And what did you learn?

When I was appointed to my current role, I had no senior management experience and so I worked extra hard to demonstrate that I was the right fit for the job. Fortunately, my peers in the leadership team were incredibly supportive, and I also had a mentor who was my senior and helped me build my leadership presence.  I learned that confidence is the key – If you don’t believe in yourself and what you are saying, neither will anyone else.

What do more businesses need to do differently? And what change would you like to see the industry embrace?

A greater focus on growing future talent through young leadership intern programs.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

I’m quite an outgoing and unreserved person by nature, and I’m not afraid to speak my mind. As a result, sometimes I can come across as abrasive and intimidating, even though that’s not at all my intention! Someone fairly senior at the company pointed this out to me a few years ago, and I’ve since adjusted my approach to certain situations to ensure that I don’t intimidate my audience.

What life quote or “motto” do you live by?

I don’t really have a life motto that I live by. I believe different mottos apply depending on the situation you’re in. For example, I like the “Live, laugh and dance” motto but wouldn’t necessarily apply that to the workplace!

What daily tasks would you encourage others to embrace?

Two things I do every day and have done through all my roles:

  • Create a “to do” list at the beginning of my day.
  • Ensure all my emails are responded to or filed for further actioning or follow up at the end of every day.

Tips for success and advice for growing your career?

  • Learn the business
  • Build strong relationships
  • Work your butt off
  • Take risks

Your topic for the July 2017 Inspiring Women Leaders Event was focused on “Young Leaders” What key points do you want people to remember & embrace from this?

  • Don’t be so serious… you can be professional while having a sense of humour and being human.
  • Hard work… If you didn’t get there through hard work, chances are you won’t be staying there for long.
Mariam-Alkhal

Mariam Alkhal – Director Traveller Services Australia & NZ – Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Article was written by JC – Inspiring Greatness Early 2017.

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