April Redmond's secret work weapon? Travel

There is no substitute for going to see things for yourself, writes April Redmond, chief marketing officer at Kerry Foods.

April Redmond at Kerry Foods: no substitute for travel
April Redmond at Kerry Foods: no substitute for travel

I’ve found only one thing truly indispensable in my career and it’s not what you might expect, especially considering all the annoying things that go with it. The queues. The taking off of one’s belt and shoes. The taxing process of looking your best when all your liquids need to fit in 100ml containers; and don’t get me started on the state of my hair in humid climates without the benefit of an aerosol hairspray.

The amazing people I met, and the quirky environment, helped me figure out what I needed to do next

My fellow itinerants will have guessed it by now. My secret work weapon is travel. I have yet to face a problem or business issue that could not be solved by getting on a plane and going to the source.

There are, of course, obvious benefits of face-to-face meetings for building trust and getting to the heart of the matter, and I have found no substitute for seeing things for myself.

Then there are the less obvious benefits. Recent travels took me to California for the 2014 Google Management Tour. I left Heathrow troubled by thoughts of how to navigate through what, in all likelihood, will be one of the most challenging periods in the history of FMCG.

On that trip, though, I found wonderful, unexpected answers. The amazing people I met, and the quirky environment, helped me figure out what I needed to do next, nearly as much as sitting on a plane for 16-plus hours with time to do what I rarely get time to do – think.