Updated: Jun 18, 2020
As a pick me up for our travel community, Richard invited Helene Taylor to the Survive and Revive platform to discuss how to turn the greatest challenges, into the greatest opportunities. As an entrepreneur, speaker, business coach, and founder of A Force For Good hub, Helene has experienced first-hand the ups and downs of taking risks in business, especially within the travel industry. She shares her career story, tells us how she dealt with and overcame the coronavirus, and talks us through how one failed business turned into the opportunity to start a leading women’s champion and events movement; A Force For Good hub.
· Helene has been entrepreneurial her whole life.
· She has worked as a business coach in real-estate and recruitment, as General Manager and consequently join-owner of TMS (Travel Management Services), which saw her transform the failing businesses into a million-dollar company.
· Helen then started JITO (Jobs in Travel Online) as a response to the very real need for a recruitment platform for the travel industry.
· Three years alter JITO turned into JITO Connected, a networking platform. From here, Helen’s desire to see a growth in female leadership and diversity within the industry only grew – and A Force For Good hub was born.
Successes and Failures
· Initially, JITO was successful and ahead of its time. However, due to a dishonest colleague, the business was being eroded from the inside.
· Helene hired developers to rebuild the entire platform. JITO Connected was additionally created at this time, which is still active today. However, Helene was forced to shut down JITO.
· From this experience, Helene tells us that we don’t know what challenges like these, are actually leading us to. As humans, we’re so scared of failing, of feeling ashamed or embarrassed. But Helene believes that you won’t stand out in the world because you failed, since everyone is too busy focused on their own lives. What matters is how you’re feeling about yourself and that failure.
· Helene’s tip is to fail quick, and get on with it.
· From JITO Connected, came A Force For Good hub. As an executive head-hunter, Helene realised that many female leaders feel they lack the skill and confidence to apply for certain jobs. She believed that without coaching women to believe in themselves and to take risks, inequalities would remain prevalent throughout the industry.
A Force For Good hub
· Helene created this movement to drive change in the travel and hospitality industry.
· Given that 70% of women make up the industry, and less than 10% are at the top, the movement encourages our community to come together as a collective, to inspire and empower women.
· There are only two women’s events in the industry; the Women’s Awards and the A Force For Good hub’s International Women’s Day event.
· The movement also consists of a board of male advocates who come together to discuss initiatives, and incorporate these ideas into their own personal businesses.
· On July 1st, A Force For Good hub is hosting a global COVID-19 support event. Its purpose is to inspire the industry to find a new path forward.
· Another event for March 2021 is currently in the works, which will be hosted from LA and most likely include online and face to face options.
Dealing with COVID-19
· Having travelled to Auckland for two events at the start of the year, Helene and members of her family were unfortunately tested positive with the virus.
· Facing a month in lockdown by herself whilst incredibly ill, Helene realised she needed to pull herself out of a downward spiral and shift her mindset. Although it took a while, she says, Helene began focusing on others instead of herself and that helped change her way of thinking.
· Helene constantly stays in touch with friends and enjoys reading to help shift her mindset.
· She has also created initiatives to help others during lockdown. For example, she created a Facebook group for employers to advertise jobs for free in the future, and she is also working on videos and interviews following on from the events.