When she’s not hanging out with Jesus or bring Oprah Down Under, Tourism Australia’s deputy CEO, Frances-Anne Keeler, is living and selling the dream. B&T caught up with her to throw a shrimp on the barbie and get all the news in our latest women in media instalment…
What or who inspired you to go into this industry?
It was a curiosity about what makes people tick. Why do people behave in certain ways? Why do they buy certain brands? I was born in Glasgow and my Dad’s vision for me was to become a lawyer or a doctor – a good, solid profession in his view. I, however, had other ideas. From a young age I was passionate about learning more about the big wide world out there and the people in it.
If you weren’t doing this particular job, what would you be doing?
I think I’d be a psychologist.
What are your passions, both in work and outside of it?
My biggest passion is travel. The world is such a diverse place, with so many interesting people to meet and so many amazing things to experience. I’m very lucky that I get to focus on my biggest passion both in and outside of work.
How do you define leadership?
The ability to have a vision and then bring people on the journey with you to achieve that vision.
What makes you tick and go that extra mile to do what you do?
My grandmother used to tell us that if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. I think she was right, and I like to do what I do well. Also, my job is to market Australia to the world so it’s really not difficult to be enthusiastic about what I do!
How do you get others onboard with your vision?
I share it with them as early as possible, and explain the benefits of realising the vision. It really helps once people can see what’s in it for them.
What are the qualities you seek in people you want to partner with and work with?
Integrity. Ability to think outside the box. Willingness to take risks and learn from mistakes.
Proudest career moment/achievement?
In 2001 when I was based in Madrid, managing the Iberia region for VisitBritain, the UK had an outbreak of foot and mouth disease that, among other things, really affected international tourism to Britain. I was part of a team that pulled out every idea we had and put every ounce of energy into getting those tourists back. One of the things we did was bring really senior influencers in the global travel industry to the UK for a visit, to show them we were open for business and it was safe for their clients to travel. These guys had an incredible experience – they had lunch with the Prime Minister at his country residence, they even had tea at Windsor Castle and saw the Queen! I remember one of the Spanish influencers I brought was called Jesus, and my colleagues joked that Frances-Anne had once again gone the extra mile, bringing Jesus to save Britain! Oh, and bringing Oprah to Australia a couple of years ago was pretty momentous too!
Have you ever felt like giving up?
Never! Life’s too short, and you only get one chance at it. You have to seize every opportunity and never ever give up!
What pearls of wisdom would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Pick your battles! You can’t always change or fix everything you’d like to, so pick the issues that will really make a difference and focus your energy on them. I look back now at some of the things I’ve got excited or angry about in the past and laugh at myself.
What advice would you give a female graduate or a newbie contemplating in the media/advertising/marketing industry?
Marketing is a fun industry, but you have to be prepared to work hard. Embrace it, enjoy it, immerse yourself and you’ll find new opportunities regularly.
What’s your ultimate career goal?
I’d like to develop a career as a company director in the future. I completed the Company Directors Course last year and it really inspired me.
Tickets for B&T’s Women In Media Awards in Sydney on 13th August 2015 at 6.30pm are on sale here.
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