Readers’ Lives: Jaime Vaughan

Tui sales manager reveals her passion for sustainability.

Jaime knew little about responsible tourism before she took on the task of engaging Thomson’s retail staff about sustainability three years ago. But she soon became passionate about it and appointed sustainability champions across the network

Q: How did you get this role?
A: I was on the management development programme and in 2012 was given the brief to engage retail with sustainability. I didn’t pick this, but it was felt my skill set was suitable. As my knowledge grew I became more passionate and the project became really exciting. I now dedicate at least one day a month to sustainability, looking at ways to increase staff engagement.

Q: What is your key objective?
A: I realised it was important to build knowledge in our retail estate if we wanted our agents to talk to customers about Travelife hotels. I was confident that once staff had the knowledge they would become as engaged as I am.

Q: How did you set out to improve this awareness of sustainability?
I couldn’t achieve it by myself, or overnight. My idea was to have a team of champions with regional sales managers supporting them. We created a team of 26 champions, to represent each region, and set up a special educational to Turkey in 2012 for them to see our sustainability strategy in action. It was incredibly successful and as the week went on you could see people becoming more passionate about it. We visited Travelife hotels and went on sustainable excursions, including to see local farmers producing food for our local hotels.

Q: What do sustainability champions do?
A: They present at management meetings and give updates to staff in their region: they keep the issue alive. We do Discovery Days where staff are allowed to use a work day to go into the community. The champions plan what their region does, like helping in a local hospice. Also, our work incorporates fundraising. We currently support Cancer Research UK and the Family Holiday Association. We encourage energy management in shops with an initiative called ‘Turtle Time’, in which staff have to reduce their shop’s energy consumption compared with last year. If they do, they get a green turtle; if not, they get a red one. No one wants a red turtle!

Q: What do you love about the role?
We donate money (via our World Care Fund to the Travel Foundation) that is ploughed back into local communities we travel to. It gives me a sense of pride that we really care about destinations.

Q: How successful have you been so far?
Knowledge has certainly improved but it’s an ongoing journey. My end goal is for staff to be able to talk confidently about Travelife hotels. There are a lot of things that make me feel proud when I think of how far we have come since 2012. One of my proudest moments was getting to the final three in the sustainability category for Tui’s annual recognition awards.

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