Your Career, Your Business: Top 5 Strategies to Thrive as an Emerging Leader

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<span>Your Career, Your Business: Top 5 Strategies to Thrive as an Emerging Leader</span>
Bottom Line:

Top five strategies for 30U30 honorees to maximize their program experience and insights to empower emerging leaders to thrive in the tourism industry. Learn to take charge of your career, build lasting relationships, seek and create your own opportunities to excel within and beyond the 30U30 program.

Do you believe your hard work deserves recognition? Are you looking to grow your network, make lifelong relationships, and advance your career in the travel and tourism industry? As an emerging leader who started my career journey in the industry in France, I understood the value of expanding my horizons beyond borders. That's why I took ownership of my career and nominated myself for the Destinations International 30 Under 30 program. It took two years of dedication to finally be selected and learn how to differentiate myself from others. Today, I share with you the top 5 strategies that empowered me as a 30U30 honoree and also want to give insights to aspiring emerging leaders to thrive beyond the program.

Your top 5 ways to thrive:

1. Own Your Path to Your Career and Success:

I recently came across a game-changing book, Own your career, own your life by Andy Storch—a transformative resource and must-read. This invaluable book empowers you to know your values, set meaningful goals and craft a compelling career vision. While I wish I had discovered it earlier in my journey, I'm now empowered by its wisdom. Andy Storch's repeated message that "no one cares more about your career than yourself "profoundly resonates with me. Full of powerful insights, wise advice and actionable takeaways, this book reminds you that your journey is unique, your potential knows no bounds, and YOU hold the cards that will lead you to success. Embrace this empowering resource, pave your path to a fulfilling career, and remember that YOU have the cards that will lead you to a successful career.

2. Build Lifelong Connections:

If you are fortunate enough to be selected as a 30 Under 30 honoree, capitalize on the program's networking opportunities—remember, many aspire to be in your position. Stay engaged throughout the program, ask questions in the Monthly Leadership Roundtables and cultivate meaningful connections with peers from your class and past years. These bonds will prove invaluable throughout your career.

For aspiring emerging leaders, seize the chance to connect through platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook Groups and the Destinations International Online Community. Your network will serve as a cornerstone for growth as our industry thrives on collaboration and knowledge sharing. I recommend joining the Destinations International Mentorship Program (open to all DI members), which allows you to connect with industry leaders who can provide guidance and support on your career journey. Your next best friend or mentor may be just one click and message away.

3. Seek and Create Your Opportunities:

The path to success extends far beyond the 30U30 program. For honorees and aspiring emerging leaders, be proactive in seeking continued education, attending conferences and applying for scholarships. Reach out to industry peers you admire, peers with roles that pique your interest, and learn from their experiences and career insights. Discover what excites them in their current roles and the training that has propelled their careers. I recall Taylor Ruoff, Education & Certification Manager at Destinations International, sharing this advice: "Always reach out because you never know; you might be surprised by the opportunities that unfold just by expressing interest." And she was right. Recently, I contacted a company hosting an online summit, expressing that my DMO couldn't afford attendance. To my delight, they generously offered me FREE access—a remarkable chance I might have missed had I not reached out. Embrace the idea that seeking opportunities can lead to unexpected doors opening. Remember, you hold the power to create your own opportunities. You might be one conversation away from a new opportunity!

4. Public Speaking and Panel Discussions:

Step out of your comfort zone, as the first time might be the hardest. Take it from me; my first time speaking in front of 250 people was not easy, but surprisingly, I loved it. I personally find public speaking to be quite intimidating, especially when I start doubting my expertise. There's always that thought that someone in the audience might know more about the topic than I do. But here's the thing – even in such situations, I remind myself that my unique perspective and background can offer value. I know that some people in the audience can still learn from my insights and find inspiration. I've also experienced the rewarding side of it – a few peers have reached out to me after my sessions to connect, seek more information, and express interest in adding me to their network for mutual support and knowledge-sharing.

What keeps me going is the understanding that learning is an ongoing journey and each time I step up to speak, I'm pushing my own growth. If you're apprehensive about starting with a large audience, I'd recommend beginning with smaller, supportive groups. This could include your own team, local community gatherings, or even a few peers from your network. These settings can help you build speaking skills before venturing to larger audiences. Preparation is key: select speaking topics you're comfortable with, practice in front of someone you trust, or record yourself for self-assessment. I've also taken the initiative to connect with speakers who have inspired me in the past. Seeking guidance from experienced speakers has provided me with valuable insights that have significantly helped me refine my approach. You can also find multiple resources online to learn more about Public Speaking such as LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and more.

While I don't yet consider myself a public speaking expert, I remain committed to pushing myself beyond my comfort zone and actively seeking opportunities and I encourage you to do the same. It's entirely possible that you're better at it than you think. As you navigate your learning journey, sharing your insights can inspire others on a similar path. As emerging leaders, speaking opportunities are our chance to shape the future we want to see, and have our voices heard. We hold great ideas, so let's share them with the world!

5. Embrace your Journey:

Greatness comes from embracing the continuous journey of growth. 30 Under 30 honorees and aspiring emerging leaders should remember that success isn't confined to a single program or moment. So, let us never wait for opportunities; instead, let's be adventurous, speak up, and create our own unique path. Embrace challenges, remain curious, and be open to new possibilities. Seek opportunities, commit to continuous personal and professional development, and dare to step out of your comfort zone. Your journey is filled with untapped potential and endless possibilities. Each path is unique, and greatness comes from the determination to grow, learn and adapt. View your career as your business; envision its growth and what it takes to be truly successful. Embrace the power within you to shape your destiny, and let your passion drive you forward!

For emerging leaders yet to be selected for the 30U30 program, know that your potential knows no bounds. Whether you're a 30U30 honoree or an aspiring, emerging leader, remember that the journey to greatness is within your reach. Success is a continuous, never-ending journey and each path is unique. Be curious, embrace challenges, step out of your comfort zone, and stay open to new possibilities. Remember, success isn't limited to a single program; it's a culmination of dedication and perseverance.

As emerging leaders, we can shape our future, let our voices be heard, and share our great ideas with the world. Let your passion drive you forward, and celebrate every achievement along the way. Your career is your business; envision its growth and take charge of your future!

About The Author

Ophélie Le Livec

Content Marketing Manager
Destinations International

Ophélie, also known as Ofé, is a passionate marketing storyteller with 11+ years of international experience in the travel and tourism industry. With a strong background across various departments of DMOs, her expertise shines in delivering innovative solutions and crafting captivating marketing plans that drive visitation and revenue growth. As a DI 30U30 class of 2022 emerging leader, she deeply understands diverse markets and effortlessly adapts to different audiences.

Ophélie spent over six years at VisitNorfolk before joining Destinations International in November 2023. During her time there, she made history by crafting VisitNorfolk's first in-house City Guide, a remarkable accomplishment that continued to thrive year after year. She also oversaw all in-house design, including presentations, flyers, brochures, and more, while actively collaborating with every department to maintain a strong and consistent brand cohesion and awareness.

Passionate about travel and storytelling, Ofé's purpose is to help partners and members and offer unique ideas that leave a lasting impact and hope to make meaningful connections and friends worldwide. 

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