Fiona Rayner is the Head of Experiential & International Operations at Blackjack Promotions. She is dynamic, versatile and bona fide personality. The creative spirit in her drives the entire management to work efficiently and effectively. DutyFreeList got the opportunity to exclusively interview Fiona on Women’s Day, her thoughts on Travel retail and advice to young women.
Your current role and a short brief.
As Head of Experiential & International Operations at Blackjack Promotions, I split my time between Blackjack’s HQ at Heathrow in London, Dublin and Dubai and am focused on supporting the development of Travel Retail and Domestic accounts across Ireland, driving growth and operational efficiencies in the MENA region, alongside aligning capabilities with the UK operation.
What sparks passion in you about travel retail, travel and tourism?
Travel Retail is a very fast-paced and fast-moving environment. Whilst there are a number of challenges going on in the wider retail sphere, in Travel Retail. Things are only getting more exciting so it’s great to be in an industry that’s moving forwards all the time; passenger numbers are growing, airports are developing and we’re part of that journey, part of something that’s got such great momentum. The other part of my particular role is that I can make it whatever I want it to be. There are no bounds to what my role is – it’s all about seeking opportunities, coming up with ideas and being creative.
What is your management style? How do your employees perceive you?
I would say that I have a direct management style. I like to be straight with my team. Let them form their own pathway forwards with direction and steer from myself. I believe in setting goals, letting my team ask questions, celebrating achievements and discussing opportunities.
Advice for young women in your and other industries?
Set yourself goals and be clear in what you want to achieve. I don’t think you can roadmap in this industry because it changes so quickly and new opportunities crop up all the time. So I don’t think you can be too specific but you should have personal goals around where you want to travel to or what you want to get involved in. There is so much happening in this industry – whether it’s TFWA or MEADFA, there’s so many things going on that I think you have to choose what you want to be involved in and put yourself out there. And I also think with the power of things like LinkedIn and networking, you can make it happen. Meeting new people and making connections is also important. My advice would be: getting involved in various opportunities, putting yourself out there, setting personal goals, and being organised.
What was the last gift you bought at duty free and gave someone?
After taking several long haul flights, I couldn’t fly without my neck pillow. My mum recently took a trip to South Africa so this was an obvious present!!
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