18 September 2012

Using dubious fashion sense as a ticket into music, relying on networks and charm to re-build a company from scratch and discovering the intricacies of hotel plumbing were some of the career-defining moments discussed at The University of Queensland’s School of Tourism’s 4th annual Executive Discussion Panel.

Hosted at the St Lucia campus on September 11, the event provided 150 third year students with important insights into current and future trends in the tourism industry, as well as advice and tips from senior professionals on how to succeed in their chosen careers.

The impressive line-up of panel members included Daniel Gschwind, Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC); Jeremy Ryland, the Marketing Director of Sizzler; Stephen Wicks, CEO of Perth Racing; Jim Whyte, tourism entrepreneur and developer; Harvey Lister, CEO of AEG Ogden; Denise Deveney, Director of Aviation and Cruise, Tourism Queensland; Gavin Wheeler, Regional HR Manager at Accor; and Lindsay Wallace, Director of Corporate Relations and Destination Management, Gold Coast Tourism.

Students gained valuable skills in delivering introductions, facilitating a discussion and networking.

Key messages from the panel included ‘have a crack, even if you don’t have all the skills required’, ‘nurture your reputation - you only lose it once’ and ‘never underestimate the value of networking’.

The School’s Director of Undergraduate Programs, Dr Karen Hughes, said that the experience was invaluable in giving students an insight into graduate attributes sought by the Tourism industry.

“We really appreciate such well-known and respected figures giving their time and advice to our students,” Dr Hughes said.

“We were equally pleased that so many students took advantage of this incredible opportunity to make personal connections with these leaders and discuss their career options.”

The annual event forms part of the School’s Professional Development course, designed to prepare upcoming graduates for entry into the workforce.

Find out more about work integrated learning opportunities with the School of Tourism at www.tourism.uq.edu.au/study

Media: Claire Shuter, (07) 3346 9259 or c.shuter@uq.edu.au