Tern Testimonials: Maria Trujillo (Graduate from the University of Leeds Class of 2016)

Last Saturday I attended my first travel career conference, one called Tern 2016. Having recently graduated from graphic design, and the focus of the conference being tech start ups, I wasn’t entirely sure if it’d prove relevant to my field. My doubts quickly disappeared. The conference was filled with inspiring speakers from startup to hospitality experts, who were all there to share both their professional and personal experiences, about how they arrived where they are, and what they would have liked to know when they began their career. Three particular talks stood out to me.

Before his talk, and during a coaching session, Turochas Fuad (founder of Spacemob) spoke about what he considers to be the most vital personality trait: passion. He explained how despite it sounding a bit a cliche, it is a cliche for a very good reason. It is something that is irreplaceable and nearly impossible to fabricate. This advice was repeated throughout the conference, reflecting its value. He added that a individual’s passion will always show. There will always be a positivity carried within that individuals personality.

Shaw Wun Lim (Senior PR Manager of APAC at Expedia) shared a great story with the crowd that can be a take away for future interviews. Lim explained that to get the job she currently has, she experienced a gruelling eight rounds of interviews before seeing any sign of an offer! She credits preparation, and inquisitiveness as her keys to success. Lim explained how she wowed the interviewers simply by doing her homework. She learned almost everything she could possibly know about the company, proving she had the highest level of interest amongst all other candidates. Lim also prepared and asked the interviewers several questions too, again demonstrating a deep curiosity about the company she was joining.
Finally, the life advice that resonated with me the most was from Tristan Torres (General Manager of Deliveroo Singapore). He shared his grief and hardships about his experience during the 2008 financial crisis in Spain, where he had worked as a lawyer. After losing his job, he felt it was a time to seek new opportunities, and decided to pursue an MBA. Tristan eventually was asked to join the Deliveroo team, which he now leads in South East Asia. He was openly grateful about his current fortune, but made the point that during the tough times (and the good), it was just as important to focus on his happiness. Financial worries affect us all and are very real, but they not something to sacrifice all our moments of joy for. He argued that pursuing what you find meaningful to be the best guarantee that you will wake up each morning feeling fulfilled. I considered this advice the most special to me, not only because it applies beyond one’s professional career but because I believe it to be the crux to any successful career.

Overall, the event was proved electric. I learned a lot from the speakers, and they made me realise that there are a more similarities amongst industries than differences. It was extremely refreshing. Most importantly it has inspired me to embark on my own travel career, one where I’ll be pouring passion, preparation and purpose.

Maria Trujillo Olaiz is a 23 year-old independent Mexican graphic designer specialising in branding, infographics and print. She recently graduated from the University of Leeds and spent 2014 and 2015 working in London for FutureBrand and Elmwood then moved to Copenhagen to work for Designit. She is currently available for commission.

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