Quick-fire Q&A with Sue Garrett

Sue Garrett is the General Manager for Product and Marketing at the Flight Centre Travel Group in South Africa. Sue studied PR and Marketing before moving to London where she spent three years. After starting at the Flight Centre Travel Group as a consultant in 1996, she quickly moved up the ranks and subsequently held various high-level management positions in South Africa, the UK and Australia. Sue is also passionate about sport and wellbeing and has a diploma in Sports Fitness.

Describe your leadership style.
I find that I flip between styles depending on the situation. I feel in the business world today, a leader has to have the ability to adapt to get the best results from their direct team as well as from the wider community. My natural style tends to lean more toward inclusive or democratic leadership. However, I very rarely will wait for consensus – but know that I am surrounded by very talented individuals I can learn from.

Your top tip to beat procrastination?
This is not something that I can relate to, as I truly believe a bad decision is better than no decision. Every leader makes mistakes. The key is how quickly and effectively you can change or manage the outcome.

Favourite getaway destination?
Franschhoek – I love the tranquillity, natural beauty and “quaintness.” The food is outstanding and of course, a good glass of red is always close at hand!

Who or what inspires you?
There are so many places and people that I draw inspiration from but being surrounded by people that have way less than I do, yet approach every day so positively and with such zest for life, is incredibly inspirational. South Africans are incredible, and I truly do not think that we stop and take stock often enough of just how resilient we are as a nation. On a side note, my Mom would be the individual that I strive to be more like.

Your one wish for South Africa?
That we could unite as South Africans. We live in the most extraordinary country that has so much to offer and yet we focus on the negative. I wish we could just focus on building a country, a future and a nation.

If you could have any 3 people over for dinner, who would they be and what would you serve?
Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt and Mohammed Ali. I think to make it to the top of your game under the circumstances all three of these athletes did, is beyond commendable. To have the discipline and to master your talent is something I strive to accomplish. My cooking skills leave a lot to be desired! So, I would order in from my favourite Japanese restaurant.

What five pieces of advice would you give to aspiring young business starters?

  • Trust your instinct, but be kind to yourself if you get it slightly wrong.
  • Admit when you have made a mistake.
  • Surround yourself with people that know more than you and don’t be intimidated by that.
  • Be humble, always.
  • Always be on the lookout for talent.

  • What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?
    I value respect. Give it and earn it.

    What would you do with an extra hour in your day?
    I would spend it with family.