Beverley Boden left school feeling “deflated and lost” but after a confidence-building career within the tourism industry, she is now using her knowledge and skills as head of finance, performance and marketing at Teesside University Business School.
Where do you call home?
Tell us about your role?
My role is head of department (finance, performance & marketing) Teesside University Business School.
How did you get to where you are today?
I remember leaving school feeling deflated and lost, but my late father always inspired me to see the world. I studied travel and tourism at college, where one day a job for a continental coach hostess was advertised on the notice board for a local holiday company, so I applied. I was just 16, thinking I was too young, but I got it after what was my first real job interview. I did this while studying and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to Disneyland Paris, Rome, Barcelona, and Venice. The rest as they say, is history.
Fast forward a few decades and I studied tourism and business at university, graduated with some great memories and moved to London to work for a global tour operator. I had always loved the hustle and bustle of London. It’s an incredible city, rich in diversity and opportunity. I was a great sales consultant and this company always sent people to amazing places. I went to Kenya on safari, the Caribbean, Egypt, the Maldives and Dubai, but that all came to an abrupt halt on September 11, 2001 when the worst terror attack in history devasted the aviation and tourism industry.
Moving back to my home town, I secured employment with Thomas Cook, Hays Travel and Teesside Airport, all jobs I loved, but having a passion for learning I wanted to share my knowledge so decided to enter the teaching profession and I’ve never looked back. I’ve taught travel, tourism and aviation now for almost 17 years and the skills I’ve acquired have led me to this point in my career as head of department. I’m studying a PhD in dark tourism – where people travel to places associated with death and tragedy – and although this is progressing slowly, I’m learning lots about myself along the way.
What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way?
My struggles have helped me become a much stronger person. My biggest challenge was losing my mother in 2017. I was in Dubai on a study visit with students and my sister called to tell me the awful news. I flew back that morning and recall feeling so alone in the world. It really affected me. More recently in 2019, my father died, leaving a real gap in the family and my life. He was my role model and the person that inspired me to see the world. I know he would be very proud, so I always think of him when I visit new places, and some of his favourite too.
Describe the moment you first got a feel for success?
When I finished studying travel and tourism at college and was awarded student of the year two years in a row. I was finally good at something after having no confidence at school. I had found my passion and calling in life!
Do you have any advice for aspiring young females?
Never think that you are not good enough. You are you and you are special. Don’t be like the majority, be the difference and be true to yourself. Always aspire to be the best and it might take time, but it’s all about the journey.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Have more faith in yourself!
What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?
Believe, courage and confidence.
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