From founding student club nights to sitting on ITT’s education and training committee, Fraser Stewart, corporate account manager at British Airways, tells Andrew Doherty about his career
Fraser Stewart’s entrepreneurial flair emerged during his time studying history and politics at Exeter university.
As an undergraduate, the now 23-year-old capitalised on the buzzing student scene, setting up events companies Throwback – a 90s-themed club night – and Nu-Tropics, which specialised in showcasing up-and-coming underground artists.
After graduating, Stewart joined British Airways as corporate account manager, a move inspired by his mother, who worked as BA cabin crew.
He has been in the role for just nine months but is already making waves within the company. Alongside his day-to-day role helping to drive tens of millions of pounds in revenue per year to BA, Iberia, the rest of IAG and BA’s joint business partners, Stewart has developed an internal LinkedIn strategy, an incentive that has earned him a BA Commercial Star award.
“I’m running a programme within the company to help improve sales,” he explains. “The main focus is on how our account managers can develop their personal brand by posting content on LinkedIn that will ensure British Airways is engaged in the market place. Based on its success so far, BA wants to roll it out across the entire organisation.”
However, Stewart says that being selected as a member of ITT’s education and training committee and TTG’s 30 Under 30 programme are career highlights.
“With ITT, my goal is to engage students and young people and encourage them to make the transition from education to becoming a travel professional. But being selected so early in my career for Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders has been amazing, and it’s great that I’m already being recognised for my efforts.”
For Stewart, TTG ’s 30 Under 30 programme represents an unparalleled opportunity to get ahead in travel.
“It’s great that there is a broad range of roles across the travel industry in this programme,” he says. “Networking with these people will be vital for career progression. I also love the fact that we have access to high-profile travel professionals whose advice will be invaluable.”
Outside work, Stewart stays busy by writing an education-themed blog, The Global Graduate, to document his progression from student to young professional. And despite exuding confidence now, he admits he used to struggle with public speaking.
“Before my time at British Airways, presenting was a challenging area for me, as the anxiety I had pre-presentation was debilitating,” he says. “However, I was conscious of the fact that it was a crucial skill I had to acquire for effective communication, negotiation and influencing – all bedrock tools needed for my role.
“I strongly believe that the best way to overcome a weakness is to face it head-on – therefore, I have forced myself to present as much as I possibly can in the past nine months.”
Stewart has taken to the challenge effusively, speaking at ITT’s Future You conference at University College Birmingham and scheduling more public speaking events for the remainder of the year.
He says: “For young people seeking to join the industry, the key piece of advice I would give is to network at every opportunity. However, the best piece of advice I have ever seen was an African proverb I stumbled across: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others’.”
“Fraser has demonstrated a great sense of entrepreneurship from an early age, which has certainly contributed to his success at British Airways. His fresh ideas and passion in bringing them to light, such as an internal LinkedIn strategy, are exactly what the travel industry thrives on, and British Airways will certainly gain from Fraser’s talent and spark.
“What most impresses me about Fraser is his ability to recognise his fears. Rather than letting them set him back, he faces them head-on – this mindset will lead him to great things in the travel sphere.
“In addition to having talent and passion, Fraser is also a savvy networker and recognises the importance of growing his contacts and absorbing their industry knowledge. It’s an important step towards the next big leap in his career, which will undoubtedly be bright and long-lasting.”