Ben Alcock

Travel Industry Mentor Experience (TIME) alumnus and committee member, Lisa Pagotto, recently stared down the Sharks under the burning TV studio lights of the Shark Tank.

Lisa is an entrepreneur and the founder of culturally immersive small-group tour operator, Crooked Compass. She kindly sat down with us for a chat about her Shark Tank experience and how TIME helped her prepare for it.

Here’s what she had to so…


What was your motivation for appearing on the show & what was the process like?

Shark Tank Still 1

I was motivated to apply because I felt Shark Tank was a great platform to really understand the ins-and-outs of my business to much deeper level. To be put through a grinder and pushed to my limits to see how much I did or didn’t know, (not just on set, but also right through the application process) to me was a great challenge and something I was keen to tackle.

Also, my Dad would say to me at the end of each Shark Tank season, “You should apply for the next one!”

This season, I finally relented. (Thanks, dad.)

To say that the process was a challenge is an understatement. From the earliest stages, long before I walked into the Tank for filming, my business was scrutinised like it never had been before.

The application consisted of pages and pages of questions, many I didn’t know the answers to, nor where to find them. I parked it for a few weeks thinking it was all too hard, but then thought to myself, I probably should know the answers to all of these questions.

It was a very steep but worthwhile learning curve that definitely helped me develop a far clearer vision of where my business is going, which parts were working and what elements needed adapting.


How do you think your experience with TIME prepared you for Shark Tank?

Lisa and Naomi Simson.

Lisa and Naomi Simson.

The guidance and knowledge of my TIME mentors absolutely prepared me for Shark Tank. They helped me learn so much about myself and how to be more creatively strategic in both business and negotiations. Learning how to have a thicker skin, how to deal with the most seemingly impossible conflicts, thinking clearly when under pressure in uncomfortable situations are all skills that were refined by my TIME mentors – all of which were needed when facing the Sharks!

Being involved in TIME, also connected me to a network of some of the most accomplished people in the industry, a number of whom who have also embraced as mentors. Having someone you can be completely open with, without barriers (and, on occasion, no filters) to truly express yourself in confidence is so important for your career development.


Both TIME & Shark Tank are about well-matched mentoring, how important have mentors been in your career?

Lisa with Shark, Steve Baxter.

Lisa with Shark, Steve Baxter.

Absolutely crucial!

My business and I wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for my mentors. It is so important to have mentors – especially when you have make tough decisions.

To have someone more experienced than you who has been there done that and can guide you from personal experience, or even just as a sounding-board, is just invaluable.


So, how did things go for you in the Tank? Was it a feeding frenzy?


Let’s just say there were all types of sharks in the Tank that day. From gentle and sweet little reef sharks, to aggressive bull sharks.

If you’ve seen the episode, you’ll know what I mean!

I’ll also say that there’s a difference between reality and TV, and an number of exciting opportunities have come from my Shark Tank adventure.

Watch this space!



TIME’s six-month mentoring programs are focused on Mentor-Mentee relationships that are Mentee-driven. Mentors are matched with successful program applicants on the basis of skills and experience that enables them to offer relevant advice and perspective.

Mentors hold their Mentees accountable, offer challenging ideas designed to inspire and build self-confidence through praise, encouragement and constructive feedback. Find out more.

Did you catch Lisa in the Shark Tank last night? What did you think?