In her 25th year with the business, Travel Counsellors MD Kirsten Hughes tells Jennifer Morris how tenacity helped her from life’s lows to the firm’s highs.
It was 1998 and Kirsten Hughes was experiencing the lowest point in her life.
Eight months pregnant with her second child, she was going through a marriage breakdown, and nine months later had been left with no choice but to ask for a council house for her and her two young daughters.
Despite the fact she would have been financially better off receiving benefits than continuing with her job at Atherton agency David Speakman Travel, Hughes did not see that as an option.
Besides, she had other things on her mind.
Speakman’s fledgling homeworking business, Travel Counsellors, was going from strength to strength, and as one of the team of four who had worked to get the now £650 million turnover business off the ground, Hughes, then in her early 20s, was striving to demonstrate why she should be in charge of commercial.
Hughes, from Leigh, returned to work when her second daughter was just three days old, and brought her with her.
No nurseries would take care of such a young baby, and Hughes wasn’t about to stay at home and miss out on seeing the start-up – now seen as a pioneer of travel homeworking – succeed.