We had the pleasure to meet Mr. Neil Fiske who has served as President and CEO of Eddie Bauer LLC since June of 2007. During his tenure he has led the effort to bring the company back to its roots and reclaim its place as an American icon. He explained how he has redesigned the image of Eddie Bauer according to its historical background.
Imagine è Believe èDo
He has worked the great potential of the history of the brand, first real specialization on gear for the adventurers. He has been able to get out of the difficulties that the company was a couple of years ago and making great profits by going back to its origin and creating a sensible story. Some of the things he used were video and the social media, but always combining with traditional promotion and marketing.
He is the key to their success and was thanks to been able to imagine what he could do for this company. He launched the First Ascent in 2009 “the most significant line of outerwear in a generation”, built by some of the world’s best known mountain guides. First Ascent’s final testing ground was Mt. Everest in May 2009. And, as part of this, Eddie Bauer produced near real-time daily video coverage of its Return to Everest Expedition – a first in Everest’s history. Mr. Fiske has also pulled the company’s rich heritage forward bringing the quality, value, and style of its product back to the standards set by the company’s founder, Eddie Bauer, in 1920.
All of these goals have been achieved because in the beginning he imagined the idea, he then believed and made his team believe it was possible and eventually became a reality.
Keith Sproule is the Tourism Advisor to the WWF-Namibia program office, focused on development of the Communal Conservancy Tourism Sector and support for joint-venture (JV) lodge and campgrounds in the communal conservancies.
A hands-on travel and tourism industry professional, Keith has been an advisor on ecotourism policy and planning to governments on three continents. He has worked and traveled in over 105 countries, including many of the premier ecotourism destinations around the world. He has been a long-term contract consultant with private tourism investment projects, international development banks and government agencies in Egypt, Belize, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Cyprus among other destinations.
He focused on the idea that tourism can be a tool to education. He put the focus on innovating to prepare packages with children and to make them learn and be aware of other cultures. Travelling can be a education experience and can aid the young to broaden their views and want to learn more about other cultures and ways of living. He finished his speech by calling for more packages including children and focus on giving that little extra which will make an effect on children and will open their eyes to other philosophies in life nad want to preserve them.
Finally for the last part of the presentation we had Nicky Fitzgerald who opened her first hotel in 1982 at the southernmost tip of Africa and since then has opened, operated and marketed over 60 luxury safari lodges and boutique hotels across South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya and India.
In 1994 she was employed by Conservation Corporation Africa (CC Africa) as Operations Director and moved across to Sales and Marketing in 2001. Nicky was part of the team that grew CC Africa from 3 to 50 lodges across sub Saharan Africa, and later in India, in all the great wilderness high spots – Masai Mara, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, Namib Desert, Kruger National Park, Kahna and Bandhavgarh National Parks, to name but a few. The company employed 2800 people and also ran successful tour operations business in 15 African countries. Many CC Africa lodges are award winning (Ngorongoro Crater Lodge was voted 2nd best hotel in the world by UK Conde Nast Traveller magazine in 2005) and the company has been honored with multiple prestigious ecotourism awards – including global winner of British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Award. In 2008 she was responsible for the rebranding of CC Africa to &Beyond and repositioned &Beyond’s travel business from being a tour operator to becoming a luxury travel provider specializing in fulfilling high ticket trips off the website.
Nicky explain the African term “UBUNTU” and how we should all embrace it in our life.
Ubuntu: “I am what I am because of who we all are.” A translation offered by Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee. Similar to a saying: A single straw of a broom can be broken easily, but the straws together are not easily broken.
Nelson Mandela explained Ubuntu as follows:
“A traveler through a country would stop at a village and he didn’t have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves. The question therefore is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?”
I leave a video which probably aids in the understanding of the term Ubuntu:
Nicky went further and described it as “I am what I am through you”. After her experience described previously she put forward the idea that we need to share the information to become more efficient. She explained the great success of the lodges that she has set in south Africa managed by locals thanks to the process of information sharing where even the financials are known by all the stakeholders.
Some of the main mistakes we all make were put forward and she recommended that we all shared our own mistakes as this is the way to learn. Some of the key mistakes included; Arrogance, “my customer” term, not asking the communities where we operate, “I am Irreplaceable”, “I am the best”.
In the new era of the communication and information the ones who collaborate and share information will always be better prepared for the changes. We all need to do cooperation with our competition and this will report more benefits than working separately.