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My CTM Journey – Tom McCarthy

Tom McCarthy leads CTM’s Sales Strategy & Support, based in CTM’s Brisbane head office. Tom joined CTM in 2009 as a trainee accountant, and today applies his commercial analysis skills to support the AU/NZ National Sales team.

How and why did you get into the travel industry?

I certainly don’t have the cliché story about growing up loving travel and dreaming of being in the industry. I finished accountancy at university and was looking for a six-month ‘in between’ job while waiting for the next intake of Graduate Programs at the big accountancy firms. Well, that ‘in between’ job has turned into nearly ten years – you could say I well and truly caught the travel bug and am loving it!

Summarise your career journey at CTM since employment to today. What roles have you held, and how did you progress between THEM?

One of the great things about working for a fast growing company like CTM is the fantastic career development opportunities available. My career journey so far is a great example of this. Starting out in the Corporate Accounting team gave me an opportunity to understand the financial mechanics of the business. I took a keen interest in the analytical side of our business’s performance, and soon an opportunity arose to move into a new role as a Financial Analyst, focusing on internal business performance analysis, budgeting and forecasting. This role gave me great exposure to senior management team across all business lines, which proved to be an amazing learning opportunity.

I was fortunate enough to be offered a place on one of CTM’s future leader courses, ‘Base Camp’ which focused on developing leadership skills. In time, I progressed into a leadership position managing the national Planning & Reporting team for the AU/NZ business, reporting to the CFO and was tasked with leading both the internal commercial reporting and analysis team as well as the client reporting team within the finance department.

A move from finance into the sales family is certainly not a well-worn path! But it’s one I ended up on, following career development discussions with my manager. The business saw the opportunity to create an exciting new role where I could apply my existing commercial skill set outside of a purely finance-focused role by directly supporting our national sales team.

Most companies would pigeon-hole you based solely on your qualification. This career ‘sea change’ from  one side of the business to the other is a perfect example of CTM’s flexibility and their commitment to career development and employee engagement.

My progression up through the finance department and then across into a national sales-based role certainly didn’t come easy (nothing ever does right?!). A willingness to work hard and put my hand up for new opportunities really helped me understand our business and the travel industry. It also allowed me to build relationships right across the business that I still rely on today. CTM has a great framework that encourages career progression and growth. But like everything, you’ll only get out what you’re willing to put in!

My Roles at CTM

  • Trainee Accountant
  • Accountant – Corporate
  • Financial Analyst
  • Senior Financial Analyst
  • Planning & Reporting Manager – AU/NZ
  • Sales Strategy & Support

CTM Careers

Describe your role & responsibilities

Reporting to the General Manager of Sales, my primary role is to support our national sales team. This ranges from modelling commercial pricing options and return on investment strategies, reviewing contractual SLAs, assistance with tender responses, building sales collateral, and reporting on lead generation and sales. In addition to this, I support our regional General Managers with their customer retention programs for large market clients, and other ad-hoc projects for the management team.

What does a typical working day look like?

The best part about my role is there is no such thing as typical! So, the answer will differ greatly depending on the day. Here’s what I did today at work:

This morning I reviewed a new client’s proposed services contract, looking for anything that needed to be further clarified internally and/or with the potential new customer. I then helped our Sydney General Manager look at the financial impact of a change to a client’s fee structure. In the afternoon we had our weekly sales team Skype call and I then worked on pricing options for a prospective new client in New Zealand.

Most companies would pigeon-hole you based solely on your qualification. This career ‘sea change’ from  one side of the business to the other is a perfect example of CTM’s flexibility and their commitment to career development and employee engagement.

 

What have been your career highlights at CTM?

Being a part of a really great growth story has definitely been a highlight. Being Brisbane-based, I’ve been fortunate to work in our head office since before the company listed on the ASX. Being witness to the company’s successes since those early days to today has been an amazing experience.

On a more personal note, some highlights have been:

  • Running my first AU/NZ company-wide budgeting/forecasting process from end to end
  • Involvement in acquisition strategies, from reporting to consolidation of data
  • Being a team leader and developing/mentoring new staff
  • Playing a part in successful supplier contract negotiations
  • Obtaining my CPA qualification
  • Playing a role in record levels of sales generation
  • Winning two CTM All Star Awards and be rewarded with trips to Malaysia and Hong Kong with my colleagues!

What is your favourite thing(s) about working in the travel industry?

What they say is true – it’s fast paced and ever-changing, literally never a dull moment!

What is your favourite thing(s) about working for CTM?

For me, it’s about the opportunities and exposure to situations I know I would not have experienced at any other company so early in my career. There’s always been an underlying theme of entrepreneurship at CTM. We’re global, but locally run. It’s this corporate personality and business structure that has allowed me to gain exposure to a wide range of opportunities, which has really fast-tracked my professional development. My leaders have always backed me to make decisions, get stuck in and give everything a go.

My leaders have always backed me to make decisions, get stuck in and give everything a go.

We work hard, definitely play hard, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. I’m convinced we’ve got the best minds in the industry, which makes it a great place to work and grow professionally.

What professional skills have you obtained since joining CTM?

I’ve learnt so much throughout my journey at CTM that it’s hard to recap everything. I’d say the key areas I’ve developed professional skills in are; problem solving, team leadership, negotiation skills, commercial analytical skills, financial modelling, contract management, procurement fundamentals, time management, communication skills…  the list goes on!

Some of the more ‘formal’ qualifications I’ve obtained throughout my career at CTM include:

  • CPA – CTM supported me throughout my CPA qualification process, allowing for study leave as well as mentoring support
  • Leadership Training – CTM’s ‘Base Camp’ leadership courses
  • HiPo (High Potential) program participant – 4 years on CTM’s HiPo program undertaking various projects and development courses
  • IECL Corporate Coaching – Level 1 Certification
  • Advanced Financial Modelling Course

CTM Careers

Please share 3 of your top tips for professional success

  1. Don’t be bound by your position description – see this as your ‘core tasks’. There will always be other opportunities on the periphery that you can contribute/add value to – look around you!
  2. Take every opportunity to surround yourself by people who have more experience than you – this is how you learn
  3. Loudest isn’t always best! Listening is a very powerful communication skill. Learn to actively listen. You’ll form a clearer understanding of the situation around you, and you’ll make smarter decisions as a result. You’ll also better understand and implement the feedback and advice given to you.

What personality traits DO you believe have been beneficial in your career progression?

  • Friendly and approachable
  • Calm under pressure
  • Committed / loyal
  • Honest
  • Hard working
  • Willing to go the extra mile

What are you most excited about in your career right now?

The unknown! I could never have foreseen my CTM journey would have turned out the way it has. I’ve learnt that, if you’re willing to put in the hard work and go that extra mile, there’s a great development framework and support network at CTM to help nurture your skills and aspirations. It’s all about giving yourself every opportunity to succeed. Who knows what the future holds – but it’s been an awesome journey so far!

 

To find out more about careers at CTM, visit our Careers site today.