EastCoast HR Group has approached prominent and everyday Sunny Coasters about their careers. Follow our Friday Feature to find out what inspires those around to go to work every day!
Zoe Sparks – Director – Spectacular World Travel & Events and Founder of SHINE Business Women.
What was your first job?
I was a ‘Check-Out Chick’ at Coles New World whilst at school, and my first full-time job was as a Domestic Travel Consultant in a travel agency in Caloundra (back in 1991)!
Who are the people that have made the biggest difference in your career and why?
I had three Bosses before setting up my own business… each one male, super supportive and who all allowed me to travel the world. They all encouraged me to keep improving, to grow and develop and they also gave me the freedom to make decisions and take on more and more responsibility, setting me up to launch my own travel and event company.
I’m also blessed to have constant mentors and supporters throughout my full career – too many to mention and I am grateful to all of them!
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
‘If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again’.
I also live by the mantra “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always have what you’ve always had”..
Think back to five years ago. Did you envision your career as it is today?
Yes and No! My company is almost 21 years old, it’s always been a travel and conference/event management company but we are constantly evolving, adding new divisions and changing how we operate so that we are supporting changing client needs and market trends. The addition of SHINE Business Women was a huge ‘tick’, something I was very passionate about launching last year, and it’s been a huge success but we are still the group and corporate travel experts too. Travel and events are my core business and I don’t think I will ever move away from this.
How do you approach work – life balance?
Eight years ago I came out of having a retail travel shop so that I could still work long hours when needed but be around for my children so I could enjoy their activities and be more flexible. I can honestly say that I have never looked back. I love what I do, so I could work all the time (what’s not to love about travel and events?), so I have to ensure that I schedule in time blocks for rest and relaxation, social time and time out. I also have to prioritise walking and yoga – but I confess that I don’t always do this well.
What is your proudest moment in your career?
Writing three small business books, launching SHINE Business Women, running major conferences for clients, being a two time Telstra Business Women’s Awards Finalist, winning the SCBWN Outstanding Business Woman of the Year, raising money for a number of charities… again too many to mention, as I am constantly proud of my career and my business. I like to celebrate each success, no matter how big or small.