Penny Spencer – Chair and Director

Inspired by Richard Branson’s views on the benefits of mentoring, and having experienced its blessings first-hand, Penny Spencer founded TIME in 2009.

With an unwavering belief in the willingness of executives from the senior ranks of the travel industry to share their wisdom, Penny has shaped the TIME program and swelled its stable of mentors to more than 100.

Penny left New Zealand for Australia in 1981 at age 18 determined to find a travel job. She completed a travel course and volunteered at a travel agency stamping brochures, and quickly became an indispensable ‘Girl Friday’ knowing a little bit about all parts of the business.

Having work her way up from the lowest rungs on the corporate ladder, and launching her own business in 1998, Penny is now Managing Director of the Spencer Group of Companies and has been acknowledged on Travel Weekly’s ‘Women in Travel Power List’, and as one of SmartCompany’s Top 30 Australian female entrepreneurs more than once. Penny’s eponymous travel management company, Spencer Travel – has also been inducted into the National Travel Industry of Australia’s (NTIA) Hall of Fame.

As a leader and a mother, Penny has a distinct perspective on juggling both a career and a family, something she described in her 2014 book ‘Love What You Do…’ – a chronicle of her journey to success.

Significantly, as a mentor of note, over 60% of Penny’s staff have only ever had one employer: Her.


Sue Graham – TIME Director

Sue is Head of Air Contracting for Helloworld Travel Ltd.

She has extensive experience at a senior level in the Travel Industry covering retail, corporate, procurement, online and various distribution systems and has developed strong business relationships with airlines, hotels, wholesalers, tour operators and agencies.

Her role at Helloworld Travel is responsible for the company’s airline partnership strategy, negotiation of airline agreements  and successfully driving the commercial results. Prior to Helloworld Travel, Sue joined CT Partners in 2013 in a newly created role to develop CT Partners’ supplier partnership strategy and preferred partner contracting.

Previously Head of Contracting, Land and Hotels for the Jetset Travelworld Group, she joined JTG (then Stella) in 2007 to head up a newly created retail brand for travel agents with high net worth clients. Ultimately named Aliseo, Sue was responsible for the employment of the Aliseo head office sales, marketing and product team and the full development of the business plan for this brand, including shop design and fit out, branding and financial modelling.

Appointed as Head of the Land and Hotels Contracting team ( having held this position in one form or another since the shelving of the Aliseo project in 2008) her role covered responsibility for the preferred wholesaler supplier contracting strategy across the five retail networks under the JTG banner and two independent networks under the Collective Purchasing Agreement.

She has worked previously in the online segment, establishing and managing Travelocity’s Asia Pacific hotel procurement and merchandising team. This involved establishing land contracting offices in Sydney, Tokyo, Seoul and Singapore, employing and managing a team of contracting managers whose role was to contract, load and merchandise a full product portfolio for Travelocity and its affiliate brands. To support the rapid growth required, Sue also developed and implemented a PR plan across the region to promote the Travelocity brand and was a speaker at a number of distribution conferences in Asia Pac.

Prior to this Sue had considerable experience in the development and implementation of corporate, leisure and conference product and supplier strategies through her management roles at Flight Centre Corporate/TQ3, CiEvents, Utell International and National Australia Bank Travel.

Her roles at TQ3, one of Australia’s major corporate travel management companies and CiEvents, Australia’s leading conference and event management company, involved establishing and managing their product procurement businesses, development of strategies to increase profitability, promotion of these businesses to customers and suppliers, team development and the management of her department’s profit and loss.


Oliver Tams – TIME Director

From Retail Travel through Corporate Travel to Online, Oliver has an encompassing history over the last 35+ years in the Travel Industry. He was a start up member of UTAG Travel, which grew into Travelscene American Express. He owned and operated 4 travel offices, becoming the largest independent travel agency in southern NSW. Oliver helped establish STA from AUS (Australian Union Of Students) at his Wollongong University office, which became the largest privately owned STA office in Australia.

He was involved in the start up TMC, Destination Travel Group, with a who’s who of clientele, including Deutsche Bank, Vodafone, Corporate Express, AHL, Manildra, ABI Group. He returned to Travelscene to help merge the American Express retail offices into Travelscene American Express and build the Travelscene American Express corporate arm into the biggest independent TMC group in Australia. Joining Jetset Travelworld Group, for the merger of Jetset, Qantas Business Travel and Qantas Holidays, he became General manager of the Business Select brand, a TMC model that included 60 offices nationally and 52 within New Zealand.

With Amadeus he headed up the Corporate Solutions concept, taking it from green fields and building a corporate direct marketing model, while working with TMCs for online development and innovation, based on in-house and third party initiatives. He helped develop an end2end solution for the FIFO market, working with third party technology affiliations fully integrated within Amadeus.

His work with Melbourne technology start up think, has involved procurement practices for travel innovation and the development of new travel techniques to be used in think’s B2B procurement platform. He is looking forward to taking think’s travel technology global within the next year.

In between his travel ventures, Oliver built, owned and cooked in his own restaurant (Whole’ Mole’) in Manly. He attended the Santa Fe cooking school in the USA to bring back the concept of New Mexican Cuisine at a stage (1998) when there were only two other, true Santa Fe style restaurants in Sydney. He is an avid researcher on industry trends and business in general, allowing him to provide conference and online insights whenever he can.


Leith Mills – TIME Director

Leith retired after a rewarding career in the industry, where her focus was always travel agencies, both corporate and leisure.

She worked in a wide variety of roles and has unparalleled experience in every aspect of travel agency operations.  She has a widely acknowledged track record in providing tangible advice to assist with growth and her special interest is the sales process.

Most recently Leith was Head of Sales at Tramada Systems, Australia’s most widely used travel agency technology, where she used her skills and experience to develop the business based on her considerable understanding of agent needs.


Martin Cowley – TIME Director

Martin Cowley has 30 years of experience in senior leadership roles in the airline, travel and technology sectors in Australia and overseas. He is currently a Company Director and Advisor to the Owners and Boards of companies in Europe and Australia. Martin believes that great mentors give an insight into what is achievable and inspire the creation of a credible pathway to achieving it.


Marie Allom – Program Manager

Marie is a well know Industry figure having spent  over 30 Years  in the  Industry.  Her   extensive experience with The Australian Federation of Travel Agents Limited (AFTA), in which she  held a number of positions after  starting as a Part Time Accounts Administration and advancing to    become  General Manager of the Federation a position she held  for over  14 Years. This was at a time when the Federation  managed  Travel colleges in each State of Australia and was instrumental in  developing and  introducing  an Award  for the  Travel Industry, among  a number of other ground breaking  initiatives

Marie had the privilege of  working with  a number of Travel  Industry Icons  from various sectors  of the Industry as well as those who served  as Presidents of the AFTA Board.  After retiring in 2004 she was recruited to return to run the National Travel Industry Awards which she did for a further four  years.

Marie  was  made a Life Member of  AFTA in 1996  for all her dedication  and work in  the  development  and growth  of  the  Federation.

Now  managing the  TIME  Program  Marie  believes this initiative  is an important step in the development of the young Managers of today

There are many benefits to all involved Mentor, Mentee, Organisations and the Industry
To have a structure in place whereby this can happen is so important.

“My personal experiences of mentoring staff who have the potential to grow and have not had the confidence to do it on their own and take that first step, and being able to encourage and guide them in a direction where they flourish is so rewarding to both the Mentor and Mentee  is the  main reason I became involved  in the Programme.”