It’s International Day of Friendship today and an important date in the Travel Counsellors calendar. While our world may face many challenges, crises and conflicts, it is important to both promote and defend human solidarity in its many forms – the simplest of which is friendship.
We believe in the value of friendship and the positive impact it has on our business, our Travel Counsellors, our customers and our head office staff. We spoke to some of our Travel Counsellors to discover how making friends has helped them to expand their world, grow their businesses and, most importantly, enjoy what they do.
Leeds-based Gill Peach started her own business in 1997 and in that time she’s developed life-long friends with fellow local Travel Counsellors.
“We have regular get togethers that we call ‘Wino Wednesdays’ and there are quite a few of us including myself, Michael Croft, Deb Robbins, Sandra Burnley, Julie Moore, Damian Newell, Louise Edwards, Ian Myers, Deidre O’Shea, Laura Green and Graham Lambeth. At Christmas we also have honorary members from outside Yorkshire. When new Travel Counsellors join in the local area, we invite them to join us too.”
“We normally meet up every couple of months and we always have a Christmas gathering. We meet to have a few drinks and a bite to eat. We also meet up at supplier evenings and training events, and we all try to go to anniversary day together
“It’s great because we can help and support each other out in times of need, we can bounce ideas of each other and we all understand about being self-employed and the highs and lows involved with it. When I was having treatment for my cancer in 2015 Damian fielded the calls, and everyone helped with my enquiries. Then, when Deb’s husband was badly injured after an accident, I looked after her business.”
“We don’t compete with each other, even though we all have our own clients, Michael, Deb and I have worked in an office for over eight years together and have never had a problem.”
Travel Counsellors Sandra Robinson, Lisa Crispino and Sallie Rudman tell us how their friendship is one of the best things about being part of our unique community…
Sandra Robinson, Travel Counsellor since 1999
“We socialise, are there for each other, have got to know their other halves and children too. I know that any one of them will have my back if I needed advice or support.
“We try and meet up fairly regularly out of work, whether that’s for a meal, or to go to the theatre. After some stressful and often intense days at work, there is nothing better and more beneficial than meeting up with your friends for some real laughs – it’s better than any medication!
“As far as supporting each other work wise, I joined the Fircroft team for business travel, the four of us share the account, and it has certainly helped me financially. When one of us are near to Gold at the end of the cut off period, we try and help the other get over the line. Or if we are out of the office and an enquiry comes in that belongs to you, there is no issue about one of the girls stepping in and helping out. They don’t even need to – it’s just done out of the goodness of their hearts. I have never felt in competition with any Travel Counsellor.
“I would say the friendships are one of the best things about being a Travel Counsellor, along with higher earnings which lead to fantastic opportunities and a better life for my family.”
Lisa Crispino, Travel Counsellor since 2014
“Sallie Rudman, Lisa Harris, Katy Phillips and I all met many years ago whilst working at Pickford’s Business Travel and instantly all became good friends, sharing lots of good times that we still talk about. We all went our separate works ways but kept in touch and met up occasionally.
“Katy, then Sallie and then Lisa, or bubbles as she is affectionately known, all became Travel Counsellors and spoke so enthusiastically about it and kept asking me to join. I met Sandra not long after I became a Travel Counsellor at a meal, and it was like I'd known them for years! We have been through some difficult times together. Losing Katy was very hard, but we were there for each other and we still include her in our nights out and raise our glasses to her.
“We call ourselves the dream team and I really would be lost without them. We communicate every day whether it be for a work issue or just to see what everyone is making for dinner. They are like my right arm – we cover for each other whether it be for holiday or just an afternoon off to re-charge. They are there to pick you up if you're having a hard time and equally they are amongst the first people I tell my good news to! We all work together on one account, as well as our own accounts, and help each other with this. We have also been on many nights out and have enjoyed some fab girls weekends away!
“I have been a Travel Counsellor for three-and-a-half years now and it is without a doubt the best thing I have ever done and even better I get to do it with my best friends too. I couldn't do it without them – it really doesn't feel like a job.”
Sallie Rudman, Travel Counsellor since 2005
“I joined Travel Counsellors in 2005 as I was a close friend of Katy Phillips who had joined five years earlier. Katy introduced me to local Travel Counsellors, Sandra and Helen. We all got on like a house on fire and our little gang grew when I finally persuaded my friend Lisa Harris that Travel Counsellors was just what she was looking for and, as Katy and I shared some business that was becoming too big for us both, it was the perfect opportunity to bring Lisa on board.
“Sadly, Katy became unwell and had to take time away from her business for a year and then lost her battle with cancer in 2015, which totally floored all of us. During all this time, we all got together as much as possible for dinner, coffee and weekends away. We were all each other’s shoulders to cry on.
“When Helen moved to Lincolnshire, it gave us the perfect opportunity for more girlie weekends and we’ve had several and have shared some hilarious moments and have made many memories. Sandra then joined us on looking after one of our large accounts as the business continues to grow. We have enjoyed weekends away for ‘big’ birthdays, and never miss a moment to get together for a board meeting – usually involving several glasses of fizz!
“This job can be all consuming and time passes very quickly so it’s important to punctuate those really busy times with social occasions and because we all totally understand each other and what our jobs involve, we make the perfect support network – both in work and our personal lives.”