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Women to Write Home About: Amanda Brown

Introducing Amanda Brown, one of Women in Tourism’s newest members. Like many across the industry, Amanda, in her role of UK Sales Director for Sodexo Sports and Leisure has been on ‘pause’ for the last year.  In the latest ‘Women to Write Home About’ blog, Amanda shares her career progression, how she has adapted during COVID, and how living life as a ‘WILLIE’ has changed for the better.

Tell us about your background and career progression

After graduating from Queen Margaret University, I started my hospitality career as sales coordinator at VisitScotland in what was then called the Scottish Convention Bureau.  During my time at VS I got an amazing opportunity to be seconded to New York to work in the Business Tourism Team for VisitBritain. Representing the UK, I learnt A LOT and have some fantastic memories.

When I returned to Scotland, Starwood Hotels & Resorts offered me a position selling Turnberry to the North American incentive market, based at the Sheraton in Edinburgh – I have many happy memories of my time there.  Following the birth of my son Ollie, I took up the position of Director of Sales at The Caledonian, eventually moving to Sodexo where I now hold the post of UK Sales Director covering MICE and Hospitality sales in excess of £30m+.

Share how you have coped during COVID – both from a professional and business perspective

Like everybody we have been on ‘pause’ for the last year, but it has given us the opportunity to assess our business model and adapt and transform for the future.  In sales and marketing, we have adopted a digital first strategy and invested significantly in technology to support this, and we also have a very solid true venue partnership offer which has already yielded organic growth within existing contracts, for example on the back of the excellent C&E growth at Hampden the SFA have awarded us the contract for all Hospitality Sales for both football and concerts at Hampden.

Personally, I have adapted well to working from home and anticipate my weekly commute between Edinburgh and London as a thing of the past – no bad thing for me.  My gym has started doing outdoor groups classes which I am really enjoying in a desperate effort to shift my ‘covid calories’!

Top three tips for WIT readers?   

Try to find a really good mentor in the industry, I have benefited professionally from having a mentor who has supported my professional development.

I found the book “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg a great inspiration for any woman at any stage of their career.

Finally support your industry colleagues, everyone has had a rough time and we all want to see our industry bounce back so let’s collaborate for the greater good.

Share your future plans, ambitions and goals

Every year I set myself personal goals I want to achieve, this year it was mostly around getting fit, reading a new book every month, climbing a Munro etc – small things that I could control.  My goals are very modest at the moment and centre around seeing and reconnecting with my family and friends and focusing on building and transforming our business.

What else would the WIT network find interesting about you, or your business role?

Well for the last 4 years I have been a “WILLIE” (work in London, live in Edinburgh), the best thing about the pandemic has been to demonstrate this is no longer necessary so I can reduce my carbon footprint significantly and stop getting up at 4am for the redeye to City Airport!

I love living in Edinburgh with my family and everything it has to offer under normal circumstances.  I am passionate about Scotland as a destination and would be happy to support any organisation or body who promotes Edinburgh and/or Scotland as a destination for business tourism.

I genuinely I love supporting the industry and if anyone wants to get in touch to discuss how we can collaborate and grow together I would be delighted to be contacted.

As a new member of WIT I am looking forward to supporting in any way I can.

Connect with Amanda directly on LinkedIn here.