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Women to Write Home About: Jennifer Neil

Jennifer Neil

For our latest Women to Write Home About Blog, Women in Tourism are delighted to hear from Jennifer Neil, Coach and Consultant, who shares insights from her career path and latest pivot during COVID.

Jennifer Neil is a consultant and coach with a wide range of operational, strategic and brand/communications skills and experience in the tourism and hospitality sector. Jennifer has now added a professional qualification in business and individual/ team coaching to her skill-set and has an interesting offer and approach for the industry that may be of value to the Women in Tourism membership and community.

Tell us about your background, your skills and experience

I have had a fairly eclectic career and been in and around the hospitality and tourism sector for most of my life. My family were Scottish hoteliers – with a busy, outside catering/event business in addition to two hotels in Edinburgh / Lothians. My first working experiences were here, and this probably kick started my love of service, people and of creating great visitor experiences.

I have always been a big ‘learner’ and a ‘give it a go’ sort of girl that enjoys a challenge! I have moved countries and careers, gathered degrees and learning – all of them creating a wonderfully rich life tapestry of experiences, friends, interesting projects, and cultural insights to draw on. I started out at Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Design. This was followed by two master’s degrees: one in International Business with Japanese and the other in Tourism and Hospitality Leadership from Strathclyde University.

I have lived and worked in London, Sydney, Melbourne, and Tokyo in both a client side – (in corporate multinationals such as BT and Compaq -corporate communications) and in agency side roles. Particularly, when I moved back home to Scotland in 2004, I started my own consultancy, Tall Poppies Scotland Ltd which delivered a variety of business development projects and initiatives for tourism such as Pride & Passion, Tourism Intelligence, Innovation Toolkit training and Business Growth Guides, Toolkits, Workshops and Programmes.

What are the most pressing issues that you see in the industry now? How can you help?

Many people have been through a massive upheaval on both a professional and personal level, and this has often led them to rethink and re evaluate many areas of their work and life. In the workplace, with unprecedented staff shortages, there is more demand than ever to deliver a great service product but also to reinvent, re market, retrain – and in many cases restart the entire business. All of this needs a personal resilience and a values, purpose led vision and mindset which coaching can often help to ignite.

I am hearing of how many people are scrambling to get things done – whether this is trying to fill the operational gaps in service delivery, sorting out new funding proposals, training/developing teams, developing strategic projects or creating content, copywriting, marketing, and communications. I can do all of this and more and am offering myself as a temporary/ ad hoc resource that would be a safe pair of hands when you need it. I am experienced and able to fill a multitude of roles, operationally, strategically and in consultancy / coaching. If you can define the need then I can help you to design the solution. This resource could be on a day by day or on project-by-project basis.

Why did you get into coaching, and how does this change how you think and work?

Coaching is a mindset approach that I think everyone could benefit from. It is a way to show up and lead both oneself and others, from a more conscious and values driven perspective. What does this mean? It most often means quickly getting to the heart of the matter and directly addressing it.

I have always liked to help people develop and have always done this informally. Throughout my various careers in design, brand /marketing communications, research, and tourism and hospitality consultancy, my role usually involved growing people’s potential. Through the various projects, I mentored, taught, trained, or coached around the experience being delivered. Now qualified with International Coaching Federation and being CPCC, I am delighted to add this skill, more formally, to the mix I can offer.

How can our WIT community find out more?

What makes me unique in this interim offer is that I am an experienced consultant and interim project manager who can wear many hats with ease – and I come with a valuable coaching background. This is coaching in action, and it is with this approach that I will turn up, demonstrate coaching skills and be quickly useful as part of a team. I love tourism and hospitality and I love coaching. If I can, I would be delighted to help. If this is of interest to Women in Tourism members or to the community to explore further, please get in touch.

With kind thanks to Jennifer Neil for her contribution. Connect with Jennifer directly on LinkedIn.