Head of Publicity – Haven

I have been working for Bourne Leisure for 23 years. There are four of us in our team and we are responsible for PR, Charity, Trip Advisor, blogs, forums, Social Media for all aspects of the business so that's holidays, caravan sales and owners. Managing our reputation on and off line and also creating interesting content to inspire new customers and keep existing customer engaged. Back in 1982 I was working in a local restaurant as a waitress and the founders of Bourne Leisure were regular visitors for lunch and they offered me "an interesting job in selling" they said. "We need people like you!" they said. I was very flattered and fascinated by their approach to recruitment. I worked for a year in the telesales team then moved to London. In 1991 I found myself back in Hemel and came back to work for Bourne again on the phones selling holidays. I was quickly made a team leader and then call centre manager. After five years I moved across to marketing and set up a new channel (3rd party partnerships) I was then given PR, asked to set up a CSR initiative (Haven fun and fitness, which ran for 3 years giving away free sport equipment to Pre-schools) and in autumn 2012 was asked to launch Haven into social media. Apart from when I returned in 1992 I haven't actually applied for any of my roles! I've worked hard and always been encouraged to progress my career. I love the variety and creativity of my role, it keeps it really interesting and fresh - no one day is ever the same. I get to visit parks and make You Tube videos with our team, guests and owners. I love to supervise TV filming like Good Morning Britain (recently met the legend Andi Peters!) and I get great satisfaction of writing press releases and then seeing the coverage in the Travel pages. I have a great team around me and love the environment in which we work. Think of it as a career no matter what role you start in there are great opportunities to progress if you have the right attitude. The company will train you in the skills you need. We introduced a new culture a few years ago (Breath of Fresh Air) which everyone really engages with and makes it a fun place to work. You are encouraged to try out new ideas that will improve the guest or team experience. I love that our Board of Directors invest in our product (around £45m each year) so we can all be proud of what we offer to guests and owners. There are lots of opportunities for learning and development at all levels... If you'd asked me 30 years ago that I would be where I am now I wouldn't have believed you. I left school with two O ‘levels and my only ambition at that time was to travel. Bourne have supported and developed me so I now have a fulfilling and rewarding career.