What Makes a Future Leader?

_MG_2887This month, we talk to the recipient of the 2016 CaravanCampingSales Future Leaders Award – Gabby Montagnese, CEO of New Age Caravans.

What are the key factors that led to your personal success?

My darkest days that saw a very public divorce changed my life and shaped who I am today. I had to choose between closing down or taking over the business alone, and the only reason I saved it was that I had about 100 employees at the time who had been loyal for years. I gained strength from facing doubts about women and single mums succeeding in business. I needed to define my ‘why’ or my reason for doing what I do, which I didn’t do before the hard times.

What have been the biggest challenges during your time at New Age Caravans?

Managing the extremely fast growth. We have been growing 40% year on year for 3 years now. Lifting production has been the easy part. The planning is where the big work is – employing and training more people, the logistics and so on. I run at a fast pace, so controlling burnout for staff is important. I try to ensure they maintain balance between their work and personal lives as well as providing professional development and motivational speakers regularly to keep everyone inspired.

Do you have advice for younger people in influential or senior roles?

Back yourself and your ability. Use your voice and be confident about what you have to offer. Don’t be scared of criticism – you will cop plenty. Years ago, my boss used to scream at me when I did something wrong, but I didn’t let it discourage me. I took the criticism on board and used it to improve myself. My advice is to take the constructive feedback and learn from it. You can learn something from everything that happens.

What change will you be championing in the industry?

I see so many people brought up with limiting beliefs. They may have had mental or emotional challenges growing up or just got lost along the way. I want to help people avoid experiencing what I did – running in the rat race without questioning what I really wanted and ultimately losing myself. With a focus on youth, I want to inspire people to wake up, challenge their beliefs and be their best in all areas of life. You need to get the most out of life and do what you are passionate about or what inspires you.