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!’
Ceri Jenkins - Account 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 comes to this new 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.
Carla Sutton - Distance Learning Team Leader
My travel industry experience spans almost 10 years – 4 years in corporate travel in the Netherlands, and over 5 years in leisure travel in New Zealand. I have been with ITC since 1997, which shows you that this is a great place to work, and study! After many years of on-campus tutoring at ITC, I moved to an administrative role completing attendance records, managing academic results and supporting the tutorial team in general.
Then the opportunity came up to work as Distance Learning Tutor, and I haven’t looked back since! I love working with students and help them achieve their goals! I am really pleased that, even though I am now the Programme Manager for Distance Online Learning, I still get to deal with our students on a daily basis. Seeing them succeed in their studies is simply the best part of my job.
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.