Celebrating Kingswood’s inspiring women on International Women’s Day

To celebrate international women’s day, we interviewed our youngest EVER Centre Manager, Fiona Allen, to find what motivates her to succeed, and how she became such an inspirational ambassador for young business women.

Tell us how you became Centre Manager for Kingswood’s Chateau de Chantereine?

I became the Chateau Centre Manager in February 2017. I came to Operations from the International Sales team which I joined back in June 2016: I was already based in France, booking overseas schools to come to Kingswood’s UK centres. I still carry out this role now alongside managing the Chateau.

Before coming to Kingswood, I had very different jobs: I taught English as a foreign language in different countries, I was a self-employed translator and also worked in the tourism industry as a stewardess which entailed a lot of travelling. I studied distance for a degree in International Relations at the Open University so that I could further my education whilst building my career.

What does your job as Centre Manager entail?

My role as a Centre Manager includes managing our team of ten people, liaising with the French council and providers, arranging excursions and tours for our visitors, developing our products and offer - I am also responsible for safeguarding at the site. My role is always varied which I find highly enjoyable, even if it can be quite demanding. There’s a great atmosphere in our small and close-knit team which makes the Chateau a very special place to work.

What motivates you to succeed?

What motivates me in my job is giving our young visitors the opportunity to discover France, its history and culture and learn some of the language, an aspect which is particularly close to my heart as French is my mother tongue. For a lot of children it is their first experience abroad without their family so it’s really important for us to make it memorable.

At 26, I am the youngest Centre Manager and also one of few female managers in the Operations team. I feel very fortunate to have been offered this chance to prove myself and to be trusted with responsibilities and the freedom to carry out new projects. I still have a lot to learn and I’m constantly looking to broaden my skill set, which is why I joined Kingswood’s ongoing Management Development Programme last year.

What would you tell young women who would like to be successful in business?

I hope that my experience can inspire other young women hoping to become successful in business. The advice I would give them would be to grasp every single opportunity as even the smallest opening can lead to a life-changing experience. Finding the confidence to go for it can be difficult but I do think we all have it in us, all too often we create barriers for ourselves which stop us from reaching our full potential.

Find out more about The Chateau De Chantereine