Meet our TC... Munira Ishak
Munira joined Travel Counsellors (TC) in September 2020 through our Academy route of entry. From a career in Project Management within the Oil & Gas industry, Munira decided that with her passion for entrepreneurship and travel, TC was the perfect match for her.
“It is a great opportunity for someone who is willing to learn”
Munira explained why she chose to join Travel Counsellors and her insight to the training provided…
How did you first hear about Travel Counsellors?
I first heard about Travel Counsellors from an Instagram advertisement. At that time I was trying to search for an idea of where I want to go next in my career. I was looking for something which would allow me time to spend with myself, my children and for all of my hobbies, which I have a lot of! I was searching Instagram and then a Travel Counsellors advertisement came up, are you interested to start your own travel business?
From there, I investigated it and followed their page (@jointravelcounsellorsuae) for a few weeks. After seeing their posts, I decided that I had to have a conversation with Holly McCann (General Manager), and I attended their Discovery Session to find out details. So that's how that started.
Your previous career wasn’t from the travel industry, why did you choose Travel Counsellors as your next career path?
As you mentioned, I'm not from the travel industry however travel has always been my passion. In my previous career I was working with people moving between Iraq or my home country, Malaysia. There were talks that my role may also be relocated to either Iraq or Malaysia in the future. I took a few months to think about this future and what I wanted to do but decided relocating to either of those countries wasn’t feasible for me.
At that time, I thought I'm tired of being in a high paced, high stressed, complicated project management role in the oil and gas industry. So, there were two ideas that I wanted to investigate further which was moving into the field of entrepreneurship.
One, I had this business idea of going into more of renewable energy and second was travel I was interested in both. I had even researched if I could start a travel agency and that was when I discovered Travel Counsellors and read more into it. I read reviews, I followed pages and I saw some signs which stood out for me. I found that Travel Counsellors has an inclusive culture, flexibility and it offers an independent option for running your own business. From my research I found that the opportunities are so vast and I really liked that idea.
When you joined Travel Counsellors you attended a 10-day Induction, did it meet your expectations and why would you recommend it to a potential new travel counselor?
Because I didn't come from a travel industry, I attended my first day of training as a blank canvas. I had no idea what to expect. In those 10-days of classroom for training, it was comprehensive, albeit a little bit overwhelming in the beginning. I liked the balance between marketing and operations so that it wasn't a full-on operation with system training all the way throughout the day. So, we had a bit of a break and change of pace throughout each day.
Being totally new to the industry, it's impossible to know everything from just attending the classroom training but what I really like about it is the openness that the training team, Nga Meti & Catherine Youden from Operations and Katie McMichael, Marketing Manager. It was really evident there is an open-door policy and excellent support when you need it. The mentoring continued even beyond the classroom which involved on the job training and one to one catch ups. Whenever we have any problems, wanted assistance when making our first booking or whatever we need we can contact the team and ask for assistance.
__Did you find the interaction, classroom-based training useful? __
Yes, I did - I learn on the go and while doing. For me, I can't sit there, read and just look at the PowerPoint I need interactive learning. This has always been the way I prefer to learn. I need human interaction, I need examples, real examples, because if you don't give me examples, I will never truly grasp new concepts. The training was so engaging and practical that I understood it right away.
What would you say to someone considering a career as a Travel Counsellor?
For someone who is also new to the travel industry, like me, I would recommend Travel Counsellors because it provided me with a big opportunity to start my own business. It’s such a unique opportunity to find here in the UAE. The fact that Travel Counsellors were willing to provide me this platform and train somebody new to the travel industry is a great opportunity for someone who is willing to learn. I am excited to build my new business in travel with their support.