Meet Colette Baini
The SITE Community provides place and purpose - there has never been a more important time to dial in and get connected.
Colette started her agency ‘Australia Conferences and Incentives’ 23 years ago and has been in the industry close to 30 years. However, she says that she almost missed out on this industry altogether as she had originally studied law. She dropped out of this in her early 20s though - and is thankful she did, saying who could have known all of those years of studying contracts would have provided such a solid platform to manage her own business!
When asked what her favourite incentive programme has been, she said it was like asking to choose a favourite child! However, she does mention a fantastic programme they developed in Australia’s own “back yard” over 20 years ago – the vast, amazing and adventurous Outback. With a partnership stretching back to 1998, Colette tells of us her discovery of the mom-and-pop owners of a 6th generation million-acre cattle ranch. She says she used their property for the next two decades for some of the most outstanding incentive experiences presented in Australia, to domestic and international travellers alike!
Colette joined SITE in 2015. Her agency was represented in the US by the late great Jane Schultz of World Marketing Group. Jane insisted that all of her DMCs were members of SITE, so although there was not a local chapter at that time, Colette jumped on board!
Colette rates incentive travel above all other rewards. She believes there is no better ‘brag’ factor than to be seen amongst ‘the best of the best’ on a reward trip. You want to prove to yourself and to your competitors that you belong in this elite group of performers. It is extremely motivating. To then be able to share that experience with your life partner even further increases the pride, giving deeper meaning to the moment. For Colette, there is something freeing about the change of environment of an incentive trip. The excitement of the departure from the norm, and the promise of something unexpected on the other side. Travel evokes a curiosity in us all, and it unites us. Both those on the journey together, as well as across cultures.
Covid-19 has been a struggle for Colette as it has across the globe. Opportunities for business may have been decimated but she says their resilience and hope for the future of the industry are strong. She is grateful for the power of technology in terms of keeping everyone connected and SITE has been a big part of that. In fact, she believes people have actually connected more regularly and more meaningfully than perhaps in the past, even finding some joy in the connection. Cooking schools, dance parties, mixology and just plain drinking. Regardless, she believes the need to be face to face again is strong and the only goal is to get back to live events and enjoy human connection.
Colette encourages SITE members to use the calendar and join events taking place across the globe. She says you will enjoy the dialogue with like-minded industry partners and always take something new and interesting away from this community. She also maintains that there has never been a more important time to dial in and get connected. Just when agencies and industry feel fractured and fragmented, she says it is the SITE community that is providing place and purpose. SITE is keeping the conversation alive ensuring our people are engaged. She says that SITE members are amongst the most innovative people on the planet. And it is in networking, brainstorming, and creatively collaborating that she believes we will forge ahead in readiness for the future.