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TravelManagers’ Day Out Just Not Cricket

To use cricketing parlance, the travel industry has been knocked for six by COVID in 2020. With international travel well and truly stumped for the immediate future, TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office (NPO) has recognised the importance of preserving a sense of team spirit within the company, organising regular gatherings (virtually and in person) to ensure the wellbeing of its 560-plus personal travel managers (PTMs) and NPO support team.

Last week it was the turn of the NPO team to take the field, figuratively and literally, with a picnic and sports day at Sydney’s Centennial Park. The Ash Paddock picnic site was chosen as the setting for a day out during which an informal cricket match was the main highlight (despite some suggestions that the players demonstrated far greater enthusiasm than expertise).

TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, was among those who took their turn at the crease. He says the maximum of 20 participants under COVID restrictions meant they had to take an informal approach to teams, but points out that some players had clearly brought along their ‘A’ game nonetheless.

Great food and great company – TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office team are one big happy family at their recent picnic sports day. (L-R Back row: Rob Fitt, Graciela Craig, Julie McLean, Joe Araullo, Melissa Randazzo, Leeanne Freeman, Georgia Thomas, Middle row: Penny Toon, Michael Gazal, Tania Myles, Suzanne Laister, Helen Georganas, Front row: Ozlem Tuncay, Lauren Cannon, Marlene Lane)

“Our Marketing Manager, Tania Myles took a great catch, and our National Partnership Manager Suzanne Laister demonstrated a good eye for the ball,” he elaborates.

A competitive round of quoits was on offer for any NPO team members who needed a break from the cricket (L-R Lauren Cannon, Julie McLean, Barry Mayo, Rob Fitt, , Helen Georganas, Grant Campbell, Marlene Lane)

Play got underway at 10 am with a barbecue breakfast, followed by cricket and quoits. A picnic lunch was the players’ reward for their physical exertions, thanks to the efforts of NPO’s resident social organiser extraordinaire and Partnership Events Executive, Helen Georganas.

TravelManagers’ CEO Joe Araullo is on the lookout for a quick wicket, watched by batter Tania Myles

With many of the NPO team working remotely as much as possible, Gazal says the fun day out was a welcome opportunity for attendees to reconnect with their work family in the real world.

“We have Zoom coffee catch ups and Friday afternoon drinks, various virtual gatherings and weekly management briefings, but it was noticeable just how happy people were to be with each other in person.”

Time at the crease for TravelManagers’ Chairman Barry Mayo to display his Alan Border like skills watched in awe by wicketkeeper Suzanne Laister

“Nothing beats great company, being outdoors with a bit of sun, sports and a few snags on the barbie,” adds Melissa Randazzo, who is TravelManagers’ Tramada Support Specialist. “It felt great to hit pause for a bit and enjoy the simple, most worthwhile things in life.”

Michael Gazal (left) and Helen Georganas took on new roles for the day: head chef and catering manager respectively

NSW Business Partnership Manager Julia McLean, who lives on the NSW Central Coast agrees. She spends a large portion of her work week on the road, catching up with and checking in on her PTMs: until the picnic she had not seen her NPO colleagues face to face since March.

The casual nature of the day did not preclude some serious tactical discussions in the lead-up to the big cricket match. (L-R Lauren Cannon, Georgia Thomas, Marlene Lane)

“Under normal circumstances I am in our National Partnership Office once a fortnight, so it was fabulous to be able to get together in the sunshine, play some cricket, have some laughs and reconnect with everyone. Whilst Zoom is fabulous, nothing beats being able to connect face to face.”

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