Jobs with Travel Benefits: Sport Marketing

It’s been a while since I posted a Jobs with Travel Benefits feature, so in order to keep inspiring people about career choices that can open the door to travel, I sought out one of the busiest people I know and asked her to answer a few questions. Meet Carole Beckford, a published author and multi-faceted woman who has worked for many years in an industry primarily dominated by men. She’s become such a go-to source, I am convinced she knows almost as much, or more, about every type of sport invented than what would be considered humanly possible. Carole Beckford

Carole, you’re an established media and communications professional who has worked in various industries, and you’ve met a lot of important people and accomplished many things in your impressive career. If you could sum up your biggest achievement in one sentence, what would that be?

I was happy to work as a publicist with one of the greatest athletes in the world – Usain Bolt. The fact that he is JAMAICAN made that experience even better. Carole Beckford and Usain Bolt

Please tell my readers what you do now. I know you’re a master at multi-tasking, so fill us in on any side ventures you have going on too.

I am now head of marketing and communications for Cricket West Indies. The role gives me an opportunity to shape the way people view West Indies Cricket, and more importantly, help the players maximize their efforts using media as a tool. I also lecture in Sports Journalism and Marketing online (when I have the time), and I take online courses as often as I can to keep me relevant and informed.

Carole Beckford

How does travel factor into your current position?

I travel throughout the Caribbean to attend meetings, matches, and events related to cricket, so I know the region really well. From time to time, I’ll make the occasional trip to the sub-continent, but I haven’t done that much in the last three years.

Carole Beckford

I know you’ve crisscrossed the globe extensively in past positions. Over the years, what countries captured a little piece of your heart?

I love the UK and Europe. Those places were where I spent a lot of time with Usain. I got to see a bit of Daegu, South Korea too. Carole Beckford in South Korea

Back then, I also visited the U.S. for media tours. Most of the time those trips were short, but England still holds significant memories for me. A trip from London to Birmingham by bus is always interesting, no matter how many times you do it.

Did some of those places grow on you after a second or third visit, or did they make a good first impression from the get go? What caused you to change your mind, if at all?

I am not the best tourist, and I have only recently begun to make an effort to see attractions and do more while in a destination.  The first impression better lasts…or else (smile). I am doing better as I now go in a day earlier to look around. The truth is I prefer to test the “mojitos”. For me, that experience is way more exciting. When I return to a country it is generally for a sport-related event, like a match, game or a conference. Carole Beckford

What resources do you use for travel advice & tips?

I am old-fashioned, so I do not use apps at all. I conduct online research, and once I book my ticket and accommodation, I tag the things I like in my mailbox so I can refer to them later. I also talk to the locals as that’s a way to become more familiar with what is happening in the streets. One major tip I’d like to add here is that while it’s always good to interact with residents who’ll make you feel at home, you must always be aware of your environment.

What’s your best travel memory, and what was the most bizarre?
It’s hard to pick just one. Cymru, Wales was quaint but fun. The Cardiff Castle was also a real treat. In addition to that, I had a blast on the streets in Ouchy, a seaport and popular lakeside resort located south of the city of Lausanne, Switzerland. It literally sits at the edge of Lake Geneva halfway across the globe, and yet they had Jamaican curried chicken on a menu in one of the restaurants!

Carole Beckford

Sampling red wine at a few vineyards in Lisbon, Portugal gave me a nice rush too. And I thoroughly enjoyed the Sound of Music tour in Austria.

My most bizarre experience was when a colleague/friend fell prey to some pickpockets in Salzburg, Austria. But she wasn’t harmed and recovered from the shock quickly.

Do you think a person’s experiences in different parts of the world can impact his/her outlook on life?

Absolutely! Travel adds perspective on people, experiences and helps with adaptability.

Finally, let’s go through a few trivia questions to have a little fun. Are you team roll or fold when you pack? Do you prefer the aisle seat or window? Are you a print or mobile boarding pass user? Would we spot you at an airport with a carry on or heading to check your bag? And do you rely on ear buds or eye patches for long-haul flights?

I fold for short trips as I never check luggage, but I roll for trips longer than a week. Incidentally, I never do laundry on a trip because it’s always easier to buy what I need.
I prefer a mobile boarding pass and the window seat generally, although I’ll opt for an aisle seat if I’m with a group. No earbuds or eye patches for me. I do not like having anything in my ears, plus I sometimes read a book and I sleep easily anyway.


(All photos accompanying this post are courtesy of Carole Beckford).

To keep up with Carole, you can follow her on Twitter or visit her website for sport industry updates and insights.

Traveling for work: International Trade

I had such positive feedback from my first post about traveling for work that I decided I would try to feature a different career path each month in an effort to highlight the many options available to people who yearn to see the world.

For this month’s feature My Travel Stamps spoke with Matthew Wilson, frequent flyer and world explorer extraordinaire.

Addressing the Bali addresses Bali Trade and Development Symposium
ITC Chief Adviser Matthew Wilson addressing the Bali Trade and Development Symposium

Matthew, what do you do for a living?

I am the chief adviser and chef de cabinet to the head of the International Trade Centre (ITC), a development agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. ITC helps countries and private sector businesses to develop through international trade and improved competitiveness. We assist them to build the capacity they need to operate effectively by equipping them with the tools, knowledge and market intelligence they need to succeed.

What tasks are involved and do you enjoy what you do?

I support the Executive Director in implementing her corporate vision and helping to chart the strategic course for the organization. I love what I do because of the innovation and dynamism involved. My job can range from meeting presidents and Nobel prize winners to attending fashion shows that showcase local designers, visiting coffee projects, facilitating the implementation of trade agreements and visiting underprivileged communities to see how trade works on the ground. It’s fascinating.

Sintra, Portugal -  at the Quinta da Regaleira Gardens
Sintra, Portugal – at the Quinta da Regaleira Gardens

Do you have to travel for work? If so, how often?

Yes, I do. The frequency varies but in one month I can travel at least two to three times for business. Flying for work has become second nature to me because I’ve been doing it for a long time. Before this position, I represented Barbados as part of the Foreign Service for more than a decade and then served in the Cabinet of the Director General of the World Trade Organization.

Wow, that’s impressive. What sort of academic and/or professional background is needed to land those kinds of jobs?

There are many pathways. I have a varied academic background that includes law, economics and history at ‘A’ levels’; psychology and sociology at the undergraduate level; and two post graduate degrees, one in international relations and the other in development studies.

Matthew in Neuchatel,  Switzerland
Matthew in Neuchatel, Switzerland

But surprisingly it is my knowledge of psychology that has really helped me most. It allows me to read and understand people quickly – an extremely useful skill in interpersonal relations and by extension, business and diplomatic negotiations.

I also have to give credit to a series of generous mentors who allowed me to ‘learn at their feet’. I am from a small Caribbean country but I had to operate in a truly global environment, so there was always the added pressure to deliver more at a higher standard.

The term “bleisure”, which means mixing business with leisure, is hot now. Do you get to do any of that when you travel?

Absolutely! Some people differentiate between business and pleasure travel; generally speaking, I don’t. Whether I am visiting some place new for one day or staying longer in a country I’ve been to 10 times, it’s all an adventure. I will find something to explore.

Alfama,  Lisbon (Portugal)
Alfama, Lisbon (Portugal)

Don’t get me wrong; when I travel for business, I work hard. My schedule is often tight and intense because I ensure I make full use of the resources being invested in me. But when the meetings and official events are over, you will find me outside meeting people, hearing their stories, eating exotic foods and listening to local music.

Smiling Samoan faces
Smiling Samoan faces

On more than one occasion, I’ve been out roaming the streets until two o’clock in the morning and I have gotten up at five to explore the area before work begins. Who needs eight hours of sleep when there are interesting sights, food and customs to learn about? Not me, I can catch up on sleep when I get home.

How do you decide what to do in your free time?

I do tons of web research. If you look in my history tab on my computer right now you will see a bunch of searches that begin with ‘off the beaten track’. Blogs are a huge resource for me as well because they give you the true personal experience – the good, the bad and the ugly. For local eats, I tend to check with the concierge.

What is your favorite country to date?

Sua Ocean trench in Samoa
Sua Ocean trench in Samoa

I can’t pick just one. For pleasure, I fell in love with Cuba: the people, the music and the buildings make it a truly special place.

For work, I would have to say Cape Verde, Cambodia and Samoa. I went to Samoa for a United Nations Summit on Small Island Developing States and that ended up being very special for me. The country is beautiful and the people are amazing. Also, the first time I ever spoke in public on trade issues was at a small island states youth meeting in Barbados twenty years before so that moment felt like I had come full circle.

What is your favorite iconic landmark or World Heritage Site? Please say why.

Massive carvings of faces at the world heritage site: Angok Wat in Cambodia
Massive carvings of faces at the world heritage site: Angok Wat in Cambodia

Without a doubt, the Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

I first visited it for pleasure five years ago and again for work just last month. It is a cultural and otherworldly experience. Seeing the sun rise over the temple and watching it set on the side of the ‘mountain’ is awe-inspiring. Beyond that, the beauty of the carvings and stone work of the temples are simply incredible sights.

What are your favorite airports?

The ones with the most welcoming people in the countries that do more with less. You will find some of the greatest airport lounges and splashy retail outlets in terminals in Dubai and Bangkok but the people interactions in airports in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Nepal were some of my most memorable. They also stood out because the people were wholly invested in doing their best despite limited resources.

What is the one thing you never leave home without?

My headphones and my MP3 player. In school I was known as ‘the guy from Barbados with the headphones’ and all these years later those two earplugs are still an important part of my life.


You can follow Matthew on Twitter at: @matthewbarbados