Every now and again, an extra-interesting individual travels the path to Pentravel greatness. Today’s story is that of Warren Baird, Pentravel’s first male manager on the top tier Management Team, and a real force to be reckoned with. A poker champion and Survivor fan, Warren is also dedicated to seeing his Rosebank team succeed at Pentravel.
Warren, what advice do you give to other aspiring guys wanting to make it in a fairly female-dominated industry?
Make an effort to get to really know your colleagues. Men sometimes have difficultly sensing emotions with issues that may be lying beneath the surface, so making an effort to be in tune with how people are really feeling is important. I’m really stupid with this sort of thing, so for me that has been a constant work in progress.
What is the funniest client request you’ve ever had?
We’ve had some strange ones. I once had a homeless woman tell me that she had accepted a marriage proposal from an American man, and because of this, it was my duty to give her a ticket to the USA. We went around in circles for about 10 minutes about the fact that I need payment in order to issue her a ticket, and she told me that it was a human right’s issue and that I was violating her basic human right! Another time, I had an enquiry where I asked for her name, and she replied ‘Hava Hansa’ – I thought she was offering me a beer!
We hear you are a poker man… how did this come about?
When I was in university, I used to watch the poker shows that were on e-TV, and I was fascinated by it. I started learning the rules and signed up to play on a free money account online to try and learn the game. I did that for about 6 months and also read strategy books to get better. By the end of my degree, I was doing well enough at the game to take it on as a job, which I did. I ended up playing for about 7 years – the flexibility of it allowed me to travel a lot, which was a major upside. So long as I had my laptop and an internet connection, I could work from anywhere!
I left for a 7 month trip backpacking around the US, South America and doing Contiki in Europe. I loved it so much that I went and did another 6 month trip between South America and the USA. This is where I found my love for travel, which ultimately lead me to where I am now at Pentravel.
When you joined Pentravel you hit the ground running and became a manger in no time. Run us through your journey so far?
I joined in May 2016, and like a lot of consultants, I struggled a bit at the start. My organisational skills are not the best, and it took me a while to learn the ropes. Towards the end of 2016, things started to click for me and I was over the moon about it. When the manager position opened I was hesitant, and only ended up applying after a conversation with the awesome Jo Overbeek. I’ve been lucky enought to have the best colleagues around me – working with my team is definitely a privilege and never a chore. Many a LOL has been had in our office.
What do we not know about you Warren?
I am a huge Survivor fan, I can’t get enough of it! During our MSC Newies cruise, the guy who was photographing our group had actually been a cameraman for Survivor on a few seasons. I think I annoyed him enough asking question that he eventually gave me a survivor buff from one of the seasons he had filmed – it is a prize possession!
Finally, what advice would you give to others on the Development Manager’s journey?
Just try and learn as much as you can. Ask questions, learn from trial and error, and just really be a sponge for information around consultants that have been there and done that.