When Trudy McColl walked through the gates of Randwick to attend the Womenwise conference in November, she was expecting to be empowered; to walk away with some tools on how she could develop her career. As the day progressed, so too did her motivation to put her newfound skills into action. But it was Lisa Wilkinson’s speech that really struck a nerve and propelled her into gear.
"I’ve never been a risk taker and I realised this was exactly what was holding me back."
"I’ve never been a risk taker and I realised this was exactly what was holding me back." It immediately struck me because I’ve never been a risk taker and I realised this was exactly what was holding me back. I said to myself, at the first opportunity I need to take a risk, I have to do it. And I did!”
Fast forward a month, and before Christmas Trudy was offered a new role in a completely different part of the business. In her words, “it was a risk for me, a big step up in responsibility and I need to learn a lot of things in a short amount of time but I felt empowered to take this on after the advice and flow on effect from the Womenwise conference.”
So, how did one day out of the office at a conference in Sydney trigger such a dramatic change?
"Two of the biggest pieces of advice I took away from the conference – and put in place immediately - were to take risks in your career and never be the smartest person in the room."
“I came away from the conference feeling extremely inspired and empowered about my career prospects. I took some time to work out exactly what I wanted from my career at Flight Centre and what steps I needed to take in order to make that happen. "
“Two of the biggest pieces of advice I took away from the conference – and put in place immediately - were to take risks in your career and never be the smartest person in the room."
“Once I worked out what my journey may look like at Flight Centre (at least in the short term) I decided to meet with a mentor…someone who I felt had the same professional values that I did and I have been meeting with him monthly to help me put those steps in place."
“One of the pieces of advice he gave me that really resonated was ‘don't do things in your day to day life in order to get noticed, do them because it comes naturally and because it's genuine. Trust that it will be noticed by your team, and your leaders.’ I implemented this immediately.
“So, I started consciously doing these things that came naturally to me and ignoring the need to ‘be noticed’. I also started networking where possible and making sure I was meeting the right people and doing the right things.”
Having made a series of sweeping changes to her day-to-day life, it wasn’t long before Trudy received an old fashioned tap on the shoulder, from none other than Womenwise founding committee member, Joell Ogilvie.
“She wanted to chat about a position in her team so I met with her and we had a great discussion about me, the team, her vision for Travel Club and the role on offer. At that meeting she offered me the promotion.”
Trudy’s new role is Product Manager for Travel Club Australia. Travel Club is an exclusive perk made available to corporate clients of Corporate Traveller or FCM which allows them access to travel consultants with exclusive deals for leisure travel bookings for personal use.
Trudy’s new role will see her responsible for creating the product strategy, building and maintaining relationships with internal and external suppliers and negotiating exclusive product deals for Travel Club members.
“My previous role was product delivery for Travel Associates so I would source tactical and campaign product for a specific destination and deliver that to the website and Marketing teams.
“This new role was a risk for me as I hadn't been involved in developing a business strategy before but I needed to recognise and have the confidence that my previous career experience in the private sector, combined with my travel industry experience was what I needed to draw on for this role.”
Trudy has been with FCTG for 18 months and knew when she started as a consultant that her Brightness of Future was in a support role at head office. After 9 months as a retail consultant with Flight Centre, Trudy moved into a contract role with Infinity Premium Product, a great opportunity to learn the back end of the business and develop her skills and knowledge.
As she finds herself in the new year in a new role, Trudy is excited about what’s to come.
“Outside of work, I am a mum to four kids (Chelsea, Georgia, Mackenzee and Ryan) and step-mum to two fabulous kids (Chloe and Jacob). My partner Ian and I enjoy camping, fishing, cycling , the occasional triathlon and good chats with friends over a bottle of red wine.
“I had all my kids quite young in life so in all honesty, my passion project now is my career. I didn't really have the opportunity to focus on that while raising four young kids so now they are all getting older and are in high school, I can take some quality time to focus on my self-development and my career.”
When it comes to inspiring other women, Trudy hopes that by sharing her story it will motivate others to strive for what they’re really after. She says anyone who is not sure what their leadership pathway is should look 5 years into the future
“My advice would be to think about where you really want your career to be in five years’ time. From there, work backwards and identify the actions you will take to make that happen.
“With the right attitude and self-belief, you can absolutely make it happen,” she confidently says.