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Enjoying motherhood and a successful career is something most women dream about. As founder/director of Stranger Strategies (a sales and marketing consultancy for the hospitality, travel and tourism industries), Jane Strangman is one woman lucky to be living that dream.

 

Tell us how Stranger Strategies came about?

To be honest, Stranger Strategies was born out of necessity to fit in with the changing needs of my family. Whilst I absolutely loved and adored my last hotel role and would love to return to something similar in the future, my eldest daughter was starting school and I was faced with the frightening reality that 30 per cent of the year is comprised of school holidays. How could I maintain the career I loved knowing the demands of the role when my husband wasn’t able to scale back his job and we had three girls under 5 years old?  So I took the plunge, registered the company and then thought to myself, ‘What have I got to lose?’.

 

DSC_0032What’s your own business/career background before Stranger Strategies?

My passion for the travel and tourism industry was instilled in me from a very young age. My father was a ship’s captain and my mother a senior executive in the airline industry so entering the hospitality industry really completed the holy trinity so to speak. After a trip to Perth and a glorious stay with my mother and grandmother in a beautiful five-star hotel when I was 11, I was hooked.  As part of my Bachelor of Commerce degree at UNSW with double majors of Marketing and Hospitality Management, it was a requirement to put in a lot of industry hours as part of our marks. I was so thankful to my lecturers who advised at the time that without the frontline experience, my piece of paper would be worthless but in years to come, it might just give me the advantage over another candidate when going for my dream job. After four years doing a traineeship across all areas of the iconic Sebel Town House in Sydney’s Kings Cross and meeting a plethora of high-profile celebrities along the way, I was offered my first position in sales and marketing.  Since then, I have been blessed to have worked for some of the country’s most incredible hotels and resorts and a variety of luxury brands, most recently as Director of Sales & Marketing at Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa, Gold Coast from 2003-2011.

 

Who are some of your current/previous clients? Describe your dream client?

My very first client was Sheraton’s parent company, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The APAC divisional office is based in Singapore and when they heard about my departure from the hotel, they generously offered me a position as a contracted project manager for the region. I have been doing this ever since and manage a variety of projects from writing the pre-opening marketing documents for all new hotels in the region to online destinational educational modules for both Starwood sales staff and their customers. I have also worked on one-off, ad hoc projects for a number of individual hotels and resorts here on the Gold Coast and across APAC. I am currently also proudly contracted as the Partner Marketing Manager for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) in a service marketing role that focuses on maintaining the foundation’s high profile partners including Witchery, L’Oreal Paris, Georg Jensen and more, along with managing the joint marketing campaigns we conduct annually with each one. Ironically, as a marketing company, I have been very fortunate to have not had to proactively market it to date. As for my dream client, well, I’m not really sure they exist! Each one has their own unique set of challenges that I try and assist them to overcome. It becomes a dream when you know you have made a difference to the brand image, service culture and most importantly, bottom line for that organisation.

 

What’s your point of difference? 

My area of expertise is the provision of strategic service marketing advice, hence the need to have the word strategy in the company name.  The “Stranger” is really a double entendre – to signify the fact that our strategies are different and as a reference to my name that often gets mispronounced! In starting the company, I wanted Stranger Strategies to be available as an extension of a client’s marketing department when resources were stretched or on an ad hoc basis when a specialised project needed completion. Now, I can safely say that outside my two major clients, both the biggest request and biggest point of difference we provide is an independent tourism/hospitality marketing specialist to audit their business and produce a report and recommendations on how to strategically improve and successfully move forward.

 

What does success look/feel like for you?

A happy family, happy clients and a happy, challenged and fulfilled me.

 

Take us through an average day in the Stranger Strategies office?

After an early morning walk, the making of breakfasts and packed lunches and finally school drop off, with cup of coffee in hand, first up is answering emails. As a fairly organised person and with a variety of clients, my Outlook calendar is my bible.  It records meetings, conference calls and all work done per client for time costing.  On any one day I may be speaking to the management team in an Indonesian resort, completing a new partner presentation for the OCRF, researching and copywriting a training module on Shanghai or liaising with Witchery on the upcoming White Shirt Campaign. It’s certainly never boring!

 

What do you like to do in your downtime after work?

I hate to say it is definitely an area of my life needing improvement. The thing with owning your own business is that you never have a whole day off. That being said, I am very lucky as I can flex my work day around dropping off and picking up my girls from school, taking them to after school activities and playing Mum for a couple of hours each afternoon. However, I do need to make up those hours in the evening and I save my jobs that don’t require client contact until then. My 2016 downtime goal is to be a better friend – either on the phone or in person, definitely not via social media!

 

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