Today it is our great pleasure to publish an interview with Genevieve Abela who is not only a friend of ours, but also General Manager at guard.me. Here’s what she had to tell us…
Let’s start with your experience in the Education Travel Industry. You have been a part of it for a number of years now – what made you join it in the first place, and what is it about Education Travel that you find interesting?
My background started in Education, I’m a warranted teacher in Malta, and worked as a teacher in various roles for 10 years before leaving to give tourism a go. I worked with the Minister for Tourism for four years after that, and with my background, I took on a lot of the responsibility related to Education Tourism and other niche markets, including Diving, Gozo, and National events. Joining FELTOM (Federation of English Language Organisations in Malta) in 2012 as the Federation’s first Chief Executive Officer, just seemed like a natural transition. And although it was time to move on, I can’t really imagine myself outside of the Education Travel Industry for the time being, I love the people, the energy, and the positivity that exists in Education Travel. I’m a big believer in fate and destiny, I believe the universe has a plan for us. I grew up in Toronto, Canada, and when I moved to Malta my first job was teaching English with Sprachcaffe, twenty years later I’m working in the ELT industry, five years later I’m working for a company whose Head Office is in Toronto Canada… Destiny.
If I had to ask you to describe Genevieve Abela in 3 words, what would they be, and why?
Passionate, Loyal, Loud – all related to each other I think. I don’t take things lightly, I’m invested in everything I do. That’s reflected in my loyalty to my family, friends, and any organisation I represent. And of course, I can get very loud! Whether it’s making a point, or laughing with friends, I rarely need a microphone! They are all characteristics that are part of who I am, and they are all something I am proud of.
You have now joined the guard.me team. What has it been like?
Depends on whom you ask I suppose! No, seriously, it’s like being home. I’ve worked very closely with guard.me as a sponsor of FELTOM for years, and Keith and I are friends before anything else. Insurance is completely new for me, so there is a learning curve involved which I’m enjoying. The team both in Europe and Canada are like family and so far, it’s been nothing but positive.
Can you tell us something about your role at guard.me? What are your main responsibilities and which markets are you taking care of?
So, I’m not actually involved in Sales, I’m the General Manager for the European Operation. I oversee operations, management, logistics of the office and agency in Malta. The local office handles all sales coming from the EU and related markets. Needless to say, we are always looking to expand our horizons, so I’m hoping to have a hand in exploring and opening up new markets for guard.me.
How does this role compare to previous roles you’ve held in the Education Travel Industry?
Very much in line with what I’ve always done in the Industry, Operations, Networking, strategy, and policy. It’s a new subject matter, but my role continues to build on what I’ve done in the past.
Which industry events can we expect to see you at in 2018?
I’ll probably be at the usual events this year Alphe UK, ICEF Berlin, but other than that we’ll see where I’m needed. No major plans to be everywhere!
Are there any further developments, plans or upcoming events at guard.me which you can shed some light on today?
guard.me Head Office is busy with a major project that I’m sure Keith would be happy to shed light on in the future. As for events, 2018 will be our 20th Anniversary, and we couldn’t celebrate other than in “Keith Segal style”, but again…. I’m going to leave the unveiling to the Boss!