From giving away fruit baskets to brand new cars… Willem witnessed the rise of Flight Centre South Africa from the ground up - an experience he will cherish forever. Despite leaving 16 years ago, Willem can still fondly recall his time at FCTG and the many memories he’s kept close since.
Willem started his Flight Centre journey with South Africa in 2001 working in an IT role for three years before moving into a Team Leader role as part of the Technology Operational team.
Willem now works as General Manager and Systems Development Manager for the largest Digital Signage Company in South Africa.
While reflecting on his time at FCTG, Willem calls attention to the amazing people he has met including Karen Janssen; who hired him, Shane Flynn; the country leader for South Africa at that time, as well as Ilse Rall who has since moved to Australia and has recently started back in the Australian recruitment team after being on stand down.
Willem also recalls being moved by Graham “Skroo” Turner, during one of Skroo’s routine visits to South Africa. Willem relives being shocked when the CEO and Founder of such a large global company remembered (in Willem’s own words) “the little IT guy from Johannesburg.”
“At the time I started working, Flight Centre had approximately 6000 staff members worldwide. Whenever he came to visit, [Skroo] always remembered my name. That in itself was mind-blowing and showed me that I was working at a truly amazing company,” Willem says.
What Willem loved most about working at Flight Centre was the value that was placed on its people and their ‘brightness of future’. Everyone belongs to a family, village and tribe and this supportive work community provides an exciting and challenging career path with personal and professional growth always a core focus.
Willem also considers himself extremely lucky to witness such passion and exponential growth in his home country of South Africa.
“[We] went from awarding the top consultant a fruit basket to giving away a car and a trip around the world!”
Even now, 16 years on from when Willem moved away from his Flight Centre family, he still stays in touch with old colleagues and always cherishes the moments they shared together.
“The biggest career mistake I ever made was leaving the Flight Centre. Hopefully, I will be able to be part of the FC team again in future,” Willem tells.