After a three-year hiatus, TravelManagers celebrated its 2022 National Conference awards on Friday, September 9, in Sydney. For one esteemed individual, handing out the ultimate award of the night became a fitting send-off after a fifteen-year tenure with TravelManagers and, remarkably, over 60 years of service in the travel industry.
With a Studio54 dress-up theme, this was a very different awards night from the usual black tie affair and was always destined to be one for the ages.
With only the last and most significant gong of the night to be handed out, a conference highlights reel played on the big screens that culminated with a photo montage of House of Travel Holdings NZ, TravelManagers and CT Partners Director Barry Mayo and his time with the company.
As the video ended and the room hushed, TravelManagers Chief Operating Officer Grant Campbell took to the stage, saying, “You might have noticed in that highlights reel that a certain Barry Mayo appeared a few times up on the screen towards the end.
“While I know he’s now already cursing me for bringing attention to his impending retirement, it would be extremely remiss of us if we didn’t acknowledge the contribution he’s made to House of Travel Australia over the last 15 years.”
Choking back the tears, Campbell said, “Barry, your dedication, passion, and unwavering contribution to this business are unparalleled, and you will be missed very much.
“On a personal note, your mentorship has been invaluable to me, as has your friendship.”
Chris Paulsen, Founder & Executive Chairman of House of Travel based in New Zealand, celebrated Mayo via a video, saying, “Barry has been a huge part of this business, and we owe him a debt of gratitude.”
“Fifteen years ago, when we decided we needed to become an Australian business, we went in search of a leader synonymous with travel industry knowledge and experience in the Australian market. But more importantly, a person of good character we could rely on.
“Talking to industry contacts in Australia, one person stood out as being the right person and fit for our organisation, if we were lucky enough to get him, and it was a guy called Barry Mayo.
“I like to think he saw in us the same qualities and values he believed in himself,” said Paulsen.
“Barry was planning to retire in 2020; however, when COVID struck, he decided he wanted to continue to lead the business through these uncertain times.
“I think this reflects Barry’s character in his commitment to ensuring TravelManagers not only survived but was positioned for a strong recovery.
“Barry, you should be incredibly proud of what you have achieved in your long stellar career in this industry and in the manner you have conducted yourself.”
“You are a smart, humble, genuine individual who we are all so incredibly proud to have worked alongside and to call a friend,” Paulsen said.
“Without your leadership and guidance, we would never have been as successful as we have been and able to solve the last three years and come out as strong as what we have.”
Joking that he wasn’t going to “ugly cry”, TravelManagers CEO Joe Araullo then spoke warmly of how he had sought Mayo’s career advice late one night at the bar at a network conference in 2004.
“I remember looking over at Barry and asking, how do you make the step up from being a general manager to a CEO-type role?” said Araullo.
“Barry took a swig of his drink, looked over at me and said, “Joe, I don’t really know. But let me think about it.”
“A couple of years later, he told me about this great company called House of Travel that was coming over from New Zealand, and the rest is history.”
To a standing ovation, Mayo was then asked to the stage to present the company’s most revered accolade, the annual TravelManagers Spirit Award, with Araullo announcing that it would now be known as The Barry Mayo Spirit Award.
The award recognises someone whose everyday attitude and principles inspire and pervade the thoughts, feelings and actions of all TravelManagers.
The newly named accolade was then awarded to Rebecca Owen, who, in the words of Mayo, “had been a major contributor to TravelManagers ethos and culture.”
“Never has this been better demonstrated than over the last 30 months,” he added.
An emotional Mayo then thanked the team and Paulsen for “trusting him to introduce the business into Australia when didn’t know him that well” fifteen years ago.
Signing off in his renowned humble fashion, Mayo simply said, “Thank you. Thank you very much. You’re all amazing.”
Outside of his tenure with House of Travel Holdings NZ, TravelManagers and CT Partners, Mayo’s stellar sixty years in the industry have also included roles at Garuda, Insight Vacations, Qantas and Harvey World Travel.
Mayo will officially leave the business in the next couple of months and says he’s looking forward to spending quality time with his family and travelling again.
For more, visit TravelManagers.com.au
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