At Excite Holidays we know that #BalanceisBetter isn’t just a catchy hashtag to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019. In fact, around here it’s super important to us that our staff truly work towards living, breathing and generally embodying this motto. How are we doing it? We chatted to five fabulous female members at team Excite to find out.

Krystal Fung

Meet Krystal – all-round amazing Office Administrator (as well as unofficial trivia night planner) – who jumped on-board the Excite Holidays Sydney ship six months ago.

Congrats on joining Excite Holidays. How are you settling into full-time work for the first time?
Excite has a really welcoming environment and has given me the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work in an office setting, while also providing a sense of work-life balance. As well as various administrative tasks, in my role I’ve been required to help plan for staff events, such as our big Melbourne Cup Lunch and End of Month Trivia night. Having to organise these social events encourages me to build lasting relationships with co-workers. These events show how strong relationships with your co-workers can help you achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Do you have any female mentors?
I like to think of the HR team as my mentors, and I’m really inspired by the work they do. Ash and Jody never miss a moment to interact with other staff in the business. They go out of their way to make sure everyone is comfortable and encourage staff to take time for themselves so that no-one is overworked. They’re always ready to help, no matter what the request.

What amazing travel experiences have you had and why?
I’ve travelled to South Korea a few times alone, which proved to be a great self-learning journey. You learn a lot about yourself when you travel independently, and being immersed in a foreign culture really opens your eyes to all the amazing things out there. I’ve also taken trips to Japan and Vietnam, which have probably been my favourite travel experiences so far. Looking at different lifestyles overseas has taught me to value my freedom as a woman living in Australia.

What life motto do you live by?
I usually like to “go with the flow”, and I often joke about being “here for a good time, not a long time.” Life is pretty fleeting, so we haven’t got much time to ponder over the negatives, right?

Barbara Dos Santos

Barbara is a Senior Scrum Master & SME, working full-time at the Excite Sydney office. She started in March 2011 as a Reservations Consultant and has since been promoted five times, so it’s safe to say, we think she likes it here. (Luckily we like her here too!).

Hi Barbara. Can you tell us a little more about your interest in health and wellness (we heard you’re a fan of marathon training…) and how Excite helps you better manage that balance?
Excite has definitely encouraged me and many other colleagues in a newfound passion: running! My first real run was 5k in July 2016 and since then, I’ve gotten up to 21k. The next one is in Canberra in April. Excite also provide staff with group training classes and other healthy options which are great for encouraging a better balance between work and wellness.

Have you been motivated by other females to help you build your own version of success?
The incredible Julia Harge is an advocate for minority rights (women, solo mothers, LGBT, immigrants and veganism). Ever since I started following her, I have changed my behaviour towards others and myself. I put myself in other people’s shoes more often to understand why such behaviour occurred. I’m also trying to be more accepting and less harsh on myself. I believe that asking for help it is not a sign of weakness, but rather strength.

What amazing travel experiences have you had and why?
Too many, luckily. But a very special moment was at a registry of births, deaths and marriages in Venice, when the lady working there helped us find the documents of my husband’s relatives. It gave me goosebumps seeing the name and date displayed on an old computer screen. Then a couple of days later we went to the town where he had come from, it was very special.

What life motto do you live by?
Whenever something bad happens, for whatever reason that it may be, I take a deep breath and think the following things: “It was the way it was … It could not have been any different”. I then try to understand a lesson from that situation and move on.

Christina Zhang

We talk to Christina – who started work in the Excite finance department seven years ago and is currently part of the Reservation Operation Optimization team – to find out what “Balance is Better” means to her.

Working at a travel company, when you’re an avid traveller such as yourself, sounds like a dream job! What has Excite done to help you “balance” your career and this interest?
I’m lucky to work at a company that encourages its staff to take unique travel experiences. And fortunate enough to have enjoyed two international holidays each year, over the past few years because I was so inspired and educated by my experiences at Excite. My trips were simple and easy, which made a huge difference to my experience travelling as a woman. They were also an excellent example of how Excite has helped me “balance” my interests and my career.

Who are your female role models?
I think my elder sister would be the person I look up to: She’s a kind person; mother, wife; geologist and world traveller.

What’s the best trip you’ve ever been on?
There are too many to name. I love classical music, museums and art so I am very lucky to have travelled to Chicago to see my favourite conductors, as well as a visit to New York’s Lincoln Center to watch the Opera. But some of the highlights would have to include seeing Mr Daniel Barenboim with his East-West Divan Orchestra and watching Mr Riccardo Muti conducting the Verdi. Both breathtaking experiences that definitely enriched my soul…

What life motto do you live by?
Love life, keep it simple and always be honest and responsible.

Veena Ramachandran

Veena, joined the squad at Excite three years ago, before being promoted to her current role of Data Analyst in the Data & BI Team in April last year. She’d never admit it herself, but Veena is so good at what she does the role was actually created specifically for her!

How do you think Excite Holidays have personally helped you achieve a good work-life balance as a woman working in a traditionally male-dominated industry?
I was studying while working full time, and Excite supported me to balance them both well, while also developing my strengths in business intelligence. I really appreciate the opportunity Excite has given me by creating a role suited to my skills and allowing me to grow within the company.

Are you inspired by any other females – professionally or personally?
Personally, I have had experiences of women enforcing outdated gender norms, so I find it most inspiring when women support and lift each other up instead. Especially the women in my life who have supported me when I need it.

What have you ticked off your travel bucket list?
I have ticked off exploring the Great Barrier Reef which was on my bucket list.

What life motto do you live by?
Don’t let others destroy your inner peace.

Krystyna Kolmak

Krystyna knows a thing or two about balance. Our Product Contracting Coordinator joined Excite in 2016, before taking time off to have a baby. Not quite done with life at Excite (and we weren’t about to let her go either!), she returned to a part-time role in July.

Balancing work and motherhood is a constant juggle. Do you think as a mother you have managed to achieve this balance and if so, how has working at Excite helped you do it?
My daughter is 20-months old and I took a full year of maternity leave to take care of her when she was born. After being home with a baby for 12 months, Excite gave me the opportunity to come back to work in a part-time role, with flexible hours. This arrangement helped me re-enter the workforce while still spending time with my child. Excite supported my search for balancing work and my home life. They gave me a lot of training to make sure I felt comfortable after a year’s break and continued to make me feel that I was a relevant employee and very much part of the team. When you are first time mum and have a long break, it can be hard to come back to where you have been, but Excite treated me as a member of the family.

Are you inspired by any other women?
I love Yuliana Dementyeva: a mother, fashion model and ambassador for Chloe in the Ukraine.

Do you like to travel?
I love to travel and I adore beaches and the ocean so my favourite holiday destination is the South Pacific. My favourite countries were New Caledonia and Fiji, but I’d love to explore the Cook Islands – I’ve I heard the beaches there are the best!

What life motto do you live by?
If I want something I will get it, no matter what I have to do. Just do what you have to do to achieve what you want. Never give up!