Karen Houston - Founder and Consultant
Karen has an extensive background in international tourism, starting out as a tour guide and overseas agent in Spain and North Africa, before taking up a UK based position as Regional Trainer for Thomson Holidays, Europe’s largest tour operator. Over the following 15 years Karen progressed to Reservations Manager and Regional Manager before taking up the post of General Manager based in London.
A career move back into training and education for the travel and tourism industries led to the setup of her own training consultancy business. Operating in the UK and Europe Karen gained extensive experience and qualifications as a professional adult educator.
After moving to New Zealand Karen set up the College in 1996 with other business professionals. Founded on principles of business excellence the College continues to attract quality staff and students seeking the best that New Zealand industry training can offer. Karen is a leading spokesperson for the industry.
Kerry Priestley - Managing Director
Kerry Priestley has been with International Travel College since its inception. Kerry has an extensive background in travel and tourism having worked in the industry for over 15 years. Initially he started working for a large retail chain based in Auckland. Later he was transferred to their London Office to help with the travel arrangements of their passengers arriving from New Zealand. Whilst in London he also spent time with one of the UK’s leading camping tour operators.
On return to New Zealand he moved into the wholesale and marketing areas of travel and tourism and travelled around New Zealand extensively putting on audio visual presentations. He also became very involved in training and it was a logical step to move into travel and tourism training as a full time career. Kerry still maintains a passion for the industry and travelling and tries to get one overseas trip in every year.
Claire Huxley - Marketing Director
Originally from the UK, Claire has a background in international tourism, starting in reservations for Europe’s largest tour operator. Several years experience working in retail travel in a managerial role Claire developed her skills in marketing. This resulted in her working for the UK’s largest direct marketing organisation, where she worked with the travel and tourism industry to develop cohesive marketing strategies.
In 2002, Claire and her husband emigrated to New Zealand. She has travelled extensively throughout Europe, Caribbean, New Zealand and Australia. She still has a passion for the travel and tourism industry and loves to travel (and talk about it!).
“I really love seeing the students progress from high school to ITC and then go out to into the industry, it’s why we all do what we do!” “Life is too short to have a boring office job, so I know that our students are making the right choice!”
Michelle Chatfield - Head of Group Services
After leaving Epsom Girls Grammar many moons ago she attended Auckland University, where she studied psychology and education. Having never travelled before she decided to go to Australia for a 3 month backpacking trip. For the next five years she explored her way throughout the UK and Europe, and worked in various areas of the hospitality industry.
Her passion for cooking led her to train as a chef but she realised that indeed she was a people person and moved into frontline roles in Hotels and Customer Service Management.
Michelle has been at the College since 1999 and has worked in various Management roles within ITC. ‘I love my job!’ ‘I never have two days the same.’ ‘Running our fantastic ITC team day to day to ensure we motivate and inspire students to succeed in an industry that we are all passionate about is so rewarding!’
Tessa Henwood - Head of Academic Services
I am originally from Sheffield in the UK, and arrived in New Zealand in January 2010. Since arriving I have travelled around the whole country from Cape Reinga in the North to Bluff in the South.
I studied Hospitality and Tourism Management at University and since then have gained a variety of work experience in the tourism, hospitality and events sectors, starting from the bottom and working my way up to management roles. I have learned a huge amount from my experiences, it has definitely been challenging at times but also awesome fun, and I love sharing my stories with the students at the college.
Having joined ITC in May 2013, I now work alongside Michelle, the Head of Group Services, to make sure the team, and most importantly the students are happy. I love working at the college, everyday is different, and it is so exciting when the students move out into tourism jobs in New Zealand and around the world.
Ceri Jenkins - Project Manager
Ceri Jenkins joined the ITC team in August 2007. He has a wealth of sales experience, expertise, and knowledge of the Travel & Tourism Industry and Education Sector. He came to this role from Stray where he was responsible for and successful in sales growth, agency partnerships and training.
His key tasks are to maximise sales and growth of ITC services and products and to market and enhance the College profile within secondary schools and industry networks.
“I joined ITC and within my first week, we were winning awards!” said Ceri. “I have already made lots of contacts within the industry, who are keen to work with ITC. The response to date from a variety of sectors of the industry has been overwhelming, there is obviously a real desire to engage with premier educators such as ITC. Increased industry engagement will only enhance student employment options when they graduate” he said.
Richard Euston - Study From Home Team Leader
I’m a proud New Zealander and feel very lucky to call this beautiful country my home. After school I worked in advertising for over 4 years. I then went travelling, heading to the 1994 football World Cup in the USA and then on to London for my OE. I started my travel career as a Tour Guide with Top Deck Travel. After training, I worked 3 European summers and was able to travel to places like Russia, Morocco and Turkey, and get paid for it!
When I wasn’t working I travelled a lot, including an overland trip from Turkey to Nepal and Eastern & Southern Africa. I’ve now been to nearly 60 countries. After 4 years away I came back to NZ and worked for Flight Centre as a travel consultant. I spent 10 years in the Flight Centre group before moving to APX, where I worked for over 6 years.
Outside of ITC, I run a business called Bumper Ball and still play social football. My wife Stacey is also a tutor here at ITC and we have 3 beautiful daughters. I look forward to inspiring the next generation in the travel industry.