The Star Clippers UK general manager talks to Travel Weekly about how she got started in the industry, and the highlights of her current job

Alison Repoulis, general manager, Star Clippers UKWhat was your first job in travel?

The popular training ground of a Thomas Cook retail branch.

How did you climb the ladder?

I learnt to drive – I realised I needed to be able to drive to be an area sales executive. My first role out on the road was as business development executive for Birmingham airport.

What does it take to be good at your job?

Creative flair. Coming up with something new can be challenging, that’s why it’s great to work for Star Clippers as it’s a unique product. You have to like people; travel relies on personal relationships. A degree in juggling a hundred things at once would also help.

What are the challenges of your job?

Coping with the huge increase in Star Clipper bookings while ensuring we maintain the highest level of customer service.

What’s the best part of your job?

Experiencing Star Clippers first hand and cruising on the largest tall sailing ship in the world. It’s also incredibly exciting when we launch destinations such as Tahiti, which is new for 2008.

And the worst?

The UK’s motorway network. I am a good friend of the M25 car park.

What’s the best piece of career advice you have ever received?

If something doesn’t work out as you’d hoped, use the experience to plan for the future.

If you weren’t working in travel what would you be doing?

I have a degree in archaeology so I would probably be digging something up.

Alison’s CV

  • 2003 to present: General manager, Star Clippers

  • 2002: UK sales and marketing manager, Leptos Hotels and Resorts

  • 2000: Head of commercial, Advantage Travel Centres

  • 1995: General manager, Seligo

  • 1989: Business development executive, Birmingham International Airport

  • 1985: Branch manager, Thomas Cook