Meet Belinda Morris and Kurt Knackstedt.

Kurt mentored Belinda through TIME program no. 21 (FEB-JUL 2016) and, as we often find, they learned a bit from each other.

We asked them a few questions about their shared TIME experience, here’s what they had to say.


What drew you to the TIME program?
I was drawn to TIME as I felt a need for some guidance and a sounding board outside of the organisation I was working for. I had heard amazing things through industry colleagues about the program and knew it was exactly what I needed.

What do you recall from your first session with Kurt?
I was a little bit nervous, but more excited! I didn’t know Kurt before TIME, but had heard A LOT about him so I was really excited to learn and absorb some of his knowledge.

What did you find the most challenging part of your TIME mentoring experience?
I didn’t have any super challenging times throughout my mentoring experience. There were definitely some big realisations that came about from the conversations with Kurt, but it wasn’t anything I didn’t already know.

I always looked forward to our fortnightly catch ups.

And the most rewarding?
How much I learnt during those 6 months about myself.

Kurt helped me be honest with myself about where I was at with my role at the time, and he gave me the confidence to put my hand up and say, “This isn’t for me, and that’s OK.”

Once I had that realisation, I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

What specific learnings from your TIME experience guide you in your career now?
Always be true to yourself and don’t do things because you think it’s the “norm”, and it’s what people expect.
As long as you know what you’re doing, and that you’re doing it for the right reason, that’s all you need.

How have your career prospects been enhanced by your TIME experience?
I am much more confident in myself and the decisions I make. Through the TIME experience and TIME community I have also grown my industry network substantially.

Who should consider being a TIME Mentee?
Anyone wanting to better themselves both professionally and personally. You get out what you put in.

Describe your TIME experience in three words.
Fantastic, Rewarding, Career Enhancing (Sorry that’s four!)


How did you get involved in the TIME program?
Tony Carter of Amadeus, Steve Mackenzie of Lido and Ollie Tams from Think had all encouraged me to participate, and I was pleased to take up their guidance and join in 2016!

As I also have the privilege of being President of another travel industry not-for-profit association, I am always seeking ways to help drive our industry forward. That can only be done by ensuring that both the people in our industry and those that might be considering joining it are as well supported as they can possibly be.

Travel is a hugely complex industry, yet doesn’t get the same level of focus and attention from traditional educational institutions that other industries enjoy (ie. – finance, engineering, etc.) and thus we have to support our colleagues in the industry more directly than perhaps other industries need to.

This is why TIME is such a great program – it’s exactly what the industry needs, in terms of a high-touch high-reward approach to helping people in our industry go from being good to great.

How many TIME participants have you mentored?

How would you describe Belinda’s development through the mentoring experience?
It was fantastic working with Belinda. When we started, she was about two months into a new role and trying to find her footing and her identity. Over the six months working together we actually discovered – together – that it was actually not quite the right role for her in the first place.

Once we got to that point whereby she recognised that it wasn’t her but it was just the wrong fit, we worked together on how to change the situation for the better. In the end, she discovered a new role with a different organisation which was right up an alley for her that she previously hadn’t thought of.

Watching her transform from a person struggling to find a path to one who’s extremely confident and doing a fantastic job was great to see.

What was the most satisfying thing for you about mentoring Belinda?
Seeing her go through the process of…

1 – Realising that she herself wasn’t doing anything wrong, she just was in the wrong role;
2 – Deciding to take action and look hard at what she wanted to do and how she was going to get there;
3 – Finding a new role and just making it happen!

Mentors often state that they learn many things from their Mentees, what did you learn from Belinda?
I learned that it’s not easy to redefine yourself when you’ve just taken on a new challenge which, in and of itself, you thought was a redefinition of who you are or who you want to be.

Belinda found herself in a position that she didn’t expect to be in, and she could have just hunkered down and kept doing something she wasn’t really passionate about but instead she took the opportunity to redefine who she was and what she wanted to do.

That is a great lesson for anyone at any point in their career.

Have you ever had a Mentor yourself?
I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors in my career, some were either direct or indirect leaders at the company I worked for, and a couple have been external and completely objective in their guidance.

Having someone that can be that sounding board, voice of reason or kick-up-the-backside (or a combination of all of those things!) is not only critical to continued growth and success, but absolutely essential.

Although I admire people who somehow find success through sheer will and self-determination, they are the exceptions rather than the norm and I firmly believe that people by and large are much more likely to succeed if they have help.

TIME is a perfect example of how people can grow and evolve thanks to just some structured and purposeful mentoring and again I’m humbled and proud to be able to be part of it.


Are you ready to accelerate your career?