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Julieta Lopez - International Markets Coordinator, Tourism NT

Julieta Lopez
'Last year my team and I went to a remote cattle station in the Northern Territory. We were really lucky to be flown in a helicopter around the half-a-million acre property.'

Julieta is part of a new generation of women changing the workforce within the travel and tourism industry. Last year she won an international two-year scholarship that propels women into high-level management roles.

Twenty scholarships are available each year through U21Global. Participants spend a year doing a Postgraduate Diploma of Business Administration with U21Global. Then they can move on to do another year and earn a Master's in Tourism and Travel Management with the University of Nottingham in England. All the classes are online which means Julieta has been able to keep her job with the Northern Territory Government while she studies.

Julieta is also on the NSW steering committee of YATEC (Young Australian Tourism Export Council) that helps young people in the travel and toursim industry to network with others and to help them further their careers.

Why did you apply for the scholarship?

I've always wanted to do postgraduate studies and this program really suited me. It's a great way to get ahead. Women in higher positions really drive and inspire me. I want a position like theirs and this program will definitely help me achieve my goals.

Why is this progression important for you?

Having a high-level position would mean that I could travel internationally for business which would be fantastic. I want to make an impact and be one of the decision makers. Progressing to the top would be a measure of the success of my career.

What do you like about the course?

I learnt mainly theory in my undergraduate degree and when I got into the workplace I realised there was a lot more to the industry. The theory is difficult to understand until you see how businesses work together and operate. This course is so relevant because I now have work experience and I can see how everything I'm learning falls into place.

What do you do in your coursework?

Every week or two the professor posts readings in the virtual classroom. There is a forum where we chat to each other and post assignments. The class never logs on at the same time but I check the discussion boards throughout the week to see if there is anything new.

What is it like working online?

It's great because I have the opportunity to speak to people from around the world. We are split into groups to do the assessments and everyone in my current group is from a different continent! The others in my group are Mexican, Chinese, and Singaporean (in France!) but everyone is required to speak English. Communication can still be an issue, especially if some people don't log on very often and pull their weight, but it becomes a good learning experience.

What were you doing before you started this program?

I did a Bachelor of Management in Tourism at the University of Technology, Sydney five years ago and I was working in sales and marketing with a tour operator before I started working for Tourism NT, a Northern Territory Government agency, in late 2007.

What do you do in your job?

Tourism NT is charged with the promotion and development of tourism in the Northern Territory. My role within this agency is national, and I work with companies selling Australian travel products to international travellers. My job involves educating these companies on the destination, keeping them abreast of our international campaigns, attending trade shows and basically managing and supporting trade relationships within the inbound industry.

Are there any perks working in the industry?

It's called travel and tourism for a reason! I often travel interstate for work and I've been able to do some fantastic trips. Last year my team and I went to a remote cattle station in the Northern Territory. We were really lucky to be flown in a helicopter around the half-a-million acre property. It is amazing to see and experience other people's lives in the outback.

What is your typical week like?

There is no typical week because it always changes. I was just at a trade show in Perth with my international team building and maintaining relationships. Next week or next month I could be travelling to a different city in the country. Time in the office is really about planning and working on various projects.

Do you have a healthy work life balance?

I can study around my work and personal schedule. For example, if I am required to fly from Sydney to Perth, I can get a lot done in those five hours. This allows me to free up time for my hobbies and relaxation.

Do you have any advice for women applying for the scholarship?

Go for it! The scholarship is for those who have potential so everyone who's interested should apply. The application side is easy – you just need your employer to sponsor you. The degree is so interesting because you study with people from all over the world. Learning how to communicate online, and through other methods, with people who are doing the same thing is a wonderful experience.

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