Kate Ziebarth’s storied career journey has seen many twists and turns on the road to finding her Brightness of Future (BOF). In her 35th year as a Flightie, Kate reflects on what advice she would give her younger self and what wisdom she would impart onto others looking to make the most out of their career at Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG).
Kate began her FCTG journey in 1987 as a Travel Sales Consultant and Team Leader working across Australia, the US, and the UK. After many successful years selling travel, Kate took her expertise and transitioned into airfare as Product Coordinator before working in fares as a ticketing trainer. While Kate was a pioneer in many areas she worked across the business, one of her first big milestones was in 1994 when she initiated our very first IT help desk and rollout team.
Two years later in 1996, Kate began a new role as National Marketing Manager which included the significant task of negotiating our yearly airline contracts. It was during this time of madness at work that Kate was also very busy in her personal life – getting hitched and starting her family. After her first was born, Kate was right back into kicking goals as she started our first loyalty club, ‘Trips Club’ in Australia, and accomplished another FCTG first - successfully pioneering the ‘Work from Home' concept.
In 2000, Kate returned to the office full-time as a National Airfare Coordinator, leading 20 coordinators around Australia before taking over as Travel Associates Marketing Manager. After baby number four, Kate reverted to WFH and worked exclusively on special projects before returning to the office in a role within Infinity Cruise in the mid-noughties. Kate was instrumental in setting up Infinity’s cruise groups optimisations before becoming Systems Leader, rolling out our first ever cruise booking system to Infinity cruise and Cruiseabout.
In 2016, Kate further cemented herself in FCTG history as she was involved in the biggest system change for the company at the time - our move from Travelport to Sabre. Today, Kate is back in the IT delivery business and technical projects space, overseeing a portfolio of work for our key areas of Service Operations and Enterprise applications.
“The role I am in now solidifies all my learnings along the way. I am a natural organiser and love structure, so this role is well within my nature. It also speaks to my core value of helping others achieve success,” she says.
Kate’s hard work and tenacity have not gone unseen as she is also a decorated award winner and has received many accolades for her contribution to the business. These include the Country and State Leaders Award for Outstanding Achievement (1996), Crail National Leaders Outstanding Achievement (2009/10), Infinity Hall of Fame (2013/14), and most recently the Australian Hall of Fame (2022, see the main image for the Kodak Moment).
'Brightness of Future' is one of our ten philosophies and is an essential part of our recipe for success. We believe our people have the right to see a clear pathway to achieving their career goals and professional development.
“To me, Brightness of Future means having the opportunity to grow and develop a road map of where you want to be, what you want to be doing, and how. This doesn’t just mean within my professional life. To me, BOF is also about how my career goals will work alongside my personal life and how both can co-exist seamlessly,” Kate says.
“Megan Lowe and Allisa O'Connell have been instrumental in influencing my BOF. I've been lucky enough to have both women as leaders. Their ability to get the job done but not at the expense of family or personal values has been a guiding influence. They are continually invested in their people and ambition to help others find their purpose.”
Kate and Megan (second from the right).
There are many resources available to Flighties to #THRIVE and find their BOF. All our people are offered the opportunity to establish their career pathway and access the mentoring and leadership development opportunities that will help them get there.
“Seek out advice, surround yourself, and listen to people who are positive and willing to share learnings,” Kate advises.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have brilliant leaders throughout my career who have challenged me and encouraged growth. It’s important to never let a learning opportunity go by. Make the time to invest in yourself and your own learning.”
While teammates and leaders have helped shine a light on the opportunities available at FCTG and provided a helping hand to get there, during her time at FCTG Kate has realised that finding your BOF and achieving your career goals is ultimately up to the individual.
“A great mantra I feel strongly about is 'If it's to be, it's up to me' - Terry Teebo. BOF isn't just about a 'job' or 'role' it's also about how you conduct yourself every day, helping others achieve the best outcomes either through learnings along the way or mentoring others,” says Kate.
In fact, one of the biggest contributors to Kate’s career success was becoming a mentor herself as being able to help other people on their journey helped solidify her own path. At FCTG, we use our personal experiences, our company longevity, and our value of egalitarianism to create a culture of continuous mentoring. Mentors and Mentees come in all ages, at all stages of their career journey, and with different paths in mind, but together we celebrate how we can all lean on each other to continue to learn and evolve.
Kate at Global Gathering 2019 in Singapore.
As Kate looks ahead her Brightness of Future looks differently from her career goals in the past.
“Over the next 10-15 years I will begin to plan how to scale down to retirement continuing in my current role,” she says.
We look forward to the years to come as Kate continues to educate, motivate and inspire those around her.
At Flight Centre Travel Group, we live and breathe our number one philosophy - our people.
Our culture is dedicated to looking after people at every stage of their experience with us. It is at the core of our company and is infused into every aspect of it.