Tomorrow's Travel Leaders: 30 Under 30: Paul Paddock
Alongside TTG Digital, the ITT and Guoman Hotels, C&M Travel Recruitment set out to discover the 30 most dynamic and inspiring people in the travel and tourism industry aged 30 years and younger - the 30 Under 30.
Here we profile one of the finalists - Paul Paddock, insurance product manager at Holiday Extras.
Q: Why did you want to get involved in the travel industry?
A: "To be honest, I fell into the travel industry! When I left school I was training to become an electrician. I was in the third year of my apprenticeship and my firm went under, so I was scratching around and happened to get a job in the call centre at Holiday Extras. After being there for a few months I found that I had quite a flair for the insurance side of the business. The rest is history - it's the best decision I've ever made!"
Q: What is it about the travel industry that makes people enjoy working in it so much?
A: "I think it's the diversity. The travel industry comes with its challenges and you never quite know what is round the corner - whether it is volcanoes erupting, airport closures or unrest in particular countries. The diversity keeps people involved and engaged.
"Also, the people in the industry are very welcoming and everyone is very positive. When you work in the travel industry, you're talking about nice destinations and working with partners whose responsibility it is to get people to these places and it is great to be a part of that. It truly is a unique and great place to work."
Q: How did it feel to be in the final 30 of Tomorrow's Travel Leaders?
A: "I was surprised! I didn't know I was being nominated and in no way did I expect to be chosen. It is a real honour and it has helped me with my own personal confidence to really understand that what I am doing is making a difference and that I am doing a good job. It has given me the confidence to go out there and do more with my time, do more for the business and continue growing with the products that I am responsible for. It was a great feeling."
Q: What impact has the recognition had on you?
A: "Listening to the speakers that we have had at the various dinners [was very useful]. When you listen to those guys, it is very inspiring to understand that some of them have also come from very humble backgrounds and have made it to be hugely successful in the travel industry. They have had their own setbacks where at certain times they have been made redundant and it hasn't always been an easy ride for them, but they stuck at it and now they are reaping the benefits for their hard work.
"It is really inspiring to listen to those people and understand that it won't always go swimmingly, but if you stick at it then you will deliver and progress. It was a really big wake up call that nothing will ever just come to you; you have really got to work for it and be prepared to go with the punches. The biggest thing that I took from it was the ‘never give up' mentality that some of these guys have had over the years.
"My advice to other people would be to study and understand everything fully. Don't be afraid to ask questions and hopefully you will then progress well."