Donna Joseph is co-Owner and Sales and Marketing Director of SN Travel an Independent Tour operator specialising in holidays to Caribbean.
SN Travel is a long standing family business which was bequeathed to her and her sister by their late father Mr Leslie Joseph in 2005. Her success story she calls “A Gift from my Father”. Her career started in banking and finance and by the time she handed in her letter of resignation, which her boss refused to accept, she was a Mortgage Advisor for her region.
During her time at SN Travel she has initiated growth and development and the company which initially started to help members from the Caribbean community visit their friends and relatives in their homeland is now a company offering tailor made packaged holidays to the Caribbean and Worldwide in an extremely e-market world.
Tell Us About Your Role
As Sales and Marketing Director, I look for opportunities to market our business and create opportunities for new business which includes creating advertising campaigns.
I am responsible for securing Group Travel particularly with regards to weddings; keep up to date with our sales figures, pipeline figures and also manage and motivate the sales and marketing team, which requires some HR duties.
But more importantly I am responsible for making management decisions on new products projects and matters relating to the development of the company.
What charity and community programmes are you involved in?
As well as promoting sustainable travel SN Travel are active in raising funds for projects and institutions in the Caribbean. We currently support the Montserrat Meals on Wheels Charity; the Noel Holmes Charity which is a small hospital and children’s home near Montego Bay and the Fiennes Institution in Antigua.
We also offer work experience via the Aspire platform to the young people in the local community who have an evident interest in travel. We give them an introduction to a working environment whilst encouraging them to further their education. I have recently employed one of my work experiences on a full time basis to manage our digital presence after completion of her degree. I am so proud of her and always encouraged her to work hard and it has paid off. She now has a job and she brings a real benefit to the business.
What’s your latest brain child for the business?
To provide group holidays for women whether single or not. The idea is to create a therapeutic, and inspirational, relaxing holiday for likeminded people.
Did you value the family business growing up and how have you instilled these values in your children?
Funny enough and I am sure this is common of children whose parents ran businesses; I did not value the business growing up. I believe this is because we were not encouraged to know, learn or get involved with the business. I find that a lot of our parents’ generation from the Caribbean are quite a proud people who want their children to aim high to achieve success. This may be the reason why my father wanted my sister to have a career in the pharmaceutical industry and wanted me to be a lawyer. Once you get older you realise how much effort and time is put into a business and sacrifices made, when it is family run.
What are the unique challenges of running a family business?
Being strict with yourself and with your business partner especially if it is a family member.
Family commitments can sometimes interfere with business decisions and naturally when you have family members working together, you can be too understanding and complacent with each other’s needs. I believe if you were employed by another person/company the importance of stricter business ethics would prevail.
Also, being a mother of 2 young children means I have to juggle my career around my family which is part of the business challenge. But I get them involved and my children are already aware of my passion for the Travel Industry. I have taught them the importance of the ‘SN Travel’ brand in the hope of passing on this business to them.
What’s the best advice you have received as a business woman?
Be brave. At times your own fear can hold you back, so you have to be brave in order to take risks. In business you must be able to take risks.
What tips do you have for women starting up in business?
- Have a business plan
- Ensure you keep up to date on what is new in your business sector
- Have social media embedded in your business activities
- Stay focused on your goals
What more needs to be done for young people looking to start businesses
Get networking. Platforms such as this is great, and more investment in getting speakers and mentors into six form students and colleges of further education would ensure that young people gain knowledge on this area.
For further information visit: www.sntravel.co.uk