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Managing Director of Contiki Australasia

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Katrina Barry is a recognized expert on Millennials, known for going to great lengths undercover to understand the minds of Generation Y. Her ability to gather and harness the power of market intelligence is nothing short of inspirational.

She is a dynamic panelist and keynote speaker. Recent engagements include the Millennial 20/20 conference, Millennials Marketing Conference 2017, the Trans-Tasman Business Circle, Women For Women in Travel and WINovation. She is sought after for her expertise around strategy and commercial development, performance/operational turnarounds, leadership and culture, digital, ecommerce, brand/PR/marketing, startups and market disruption and of course Millennials. She offers her sharp wit, warmth and honesty about what it takes to engage consumers in the digital age, and teams.

An ideal speaker for a variety of events, Katrina's insights are nothing short of facinating.

Current work

She is the Managing Director of Contiki Holidays Australasia. Since joining the global brand in 2014, she has boldly redefined the Contiki experience for the digital age. Katrina has reimagined the Contiki strategy, product and brand positioning to increase market share, lift operational yield and margins and increase ecommerce sales (by 32 per cent). She only accepted the MD role after doing due diligence … by taking a Contiki tour around Europe at the age of 38.

Previous experience

Employment: Before joining Contiki in 2014, Katrina held roles with BT Australia including Head of Digital and Direct Businesses; Head of Customer Experience; and strategy and investment roles with the Virgin Group including Virgin Money. Katrina was a co-founder of Virgin Active. A majority stake was sold to CVC Capital in 2011 after the business was built up to 300 staff around Australia. She also has experience as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company working with Fortune 500 and ASX100 companies in retail, telecommunications, FMCG, mining, and financial services.

Education: Katrina completed the Advanced Management Program at the Wharton Business School and she has a Bachelor of Commerce/Law from the University of Auckland. She is a Non-Executive Director of Hollard Insurance; Petsure; the Australian Federation of Travel Agents Mutual Scheme, and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Talking Points

Millennials…can they be mastered?

Entitled, self-absorbed or simply misunderstood? Contiki Holidays Managing Director Katrina Barry shares her insights from leading 120 Millennials (Generation Y) over four years through a business transformation. She shares her insights on how to create environments that allow Millennials to thrive and challenges stereotypes of working attitudes. In this keynote, Katrina shares her secrets for getting enthusiasm, effort and performance from this notoriously challenging workforce segment.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Belly laughs, undercover boss stories, real consumer insights, paradigm shifts and powerful reflection exercises to challenge stereotypes.
VALUE PROPOSITION: Data briefing on the groundbreaking “Are Millennial’s f**cked series” with MTV including video content and 2M plus likes Facebook campaigns

Marketing to Gen Y, X or Millennials

The Contiki story of how a 55-year-old brand remains world famous and relevant to every new generation is a master class in modern marketing. Katrina Barry explains the “magic fairy dust” that Contiki has used to be able to connect with its Gen Y, Z and Millennials. Katrina will detail how the Contiki brand has sold to the generations that “don’t want to be sold to”.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Detailed case studies, trends statistics on marketing to, and the difference between, Gen Z and Gen Y; content-led marketing insights; what brands need to know about these emerging generations; compelling social media content analysis
VALUE PROPOSITION: Learn about campaigns that spread like wildfire; why the direct sales approach does not work for these consumers

What gets your brand there doesn’t keep you there - Millennial brand evolution with insight

Lessons from Virgin and Contiki on how to stay ahead of the game. Katrina Barry details how iconic brands remain relevant decade after decade. She discusses her theory ‘What gets your brand there doesn’t keep you there’ and explains her strategies for keeping a brand fresh, relevant and evolving.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Breakdown of how ‘challenger’ brands like Virgin work; how the Contiki brand has evolved through its unique content marketing approach
VALUE PROPOSITION: Insights on Virgin and Contiki’s branding identity, philosophy and obsession with customer experiences.

Women in Leadership: starfish, gremlins and ignoring advice

Katrina Barry is a Managing Director who has never lost her down-to-earth, honest approach to leadership. She’s worked and lived in NZ, the UK, South Africa, Ecuador and Australia. She’s been a lawyer, a McKinsey management consultant, a head of strategy at Virgin, run digital and marketing division in a big bank, worked in recruitment, coal mining, investment banking and private equity, started and sold a gym chain, and even worked for the United Nations Development Program. In this keynote, she follows her career trajectory from high school drop out to Managing Director for a multinational superbrand and explains her unusual recipe for success.

WHAT TO EXPECT: The business case for female participation, representation and leadership. Reflection exercises on what needs to be done for championing women in leadership. Stats on, and case for closing, the gender gap as required.
VALUE PROPOSITION: Katrina’s unique recipe for personal success is outlined that involves taming gremlins and ignoring the advice!

The 10 things I learnt from working for Richard Branson

Across the seven years Katrina Barry worked for the Virgin Group, she did a lot more than building businesses for him - including having organise to have one of Richard Branson’s yachts cleaned and arranging, and even being in, headline grabbing press stunts. Katrina was a co-founder of the start-ups Virgin Money and Virgin Active that grew to 300 staff and looked after numerous other interests for billionaire Richard Branson in Australia. In her candid keynote, Katrina shares 10 lessons from one of the most powerful brands in the world that are relevant for every business.

WHAT TO EXPECT: How to challenge the ‘rules’ of business; learning in the deep end; how to seize opportunities and secrets of the Virgin HR strategy.
VALUE PROPOSITION: Case studies, learn about the mindset require to build billion-dollar businesses in different sectors; Virgin Group team-building, staff retention and delegation tactics.

A good man strategy is hard to find

Throughout Katrina Barry’s career, she has discovered that businesses with a simple, clear and effective strategy and plan are as hard to find as a good man in Sydney. She outlines her tried and tested methods for developing and implementing business strategies developed from her experience at the world’s leading Management Consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

WHAT TO EXPECT: A step-by-step guide to how Katrina works with her teams annually to develop 12-month strategic plans; mapping annual plans against longer-term strategic plans.
VALUE PROPOSITION: Details of processes to ensure that businesses have absolute clarity and all levels of the organsisation around strategic planning; ensuring plans remain relevant and set up for success.

You can learn everything you need to know for your career from…

Katrina Barry is a senior executive who has travelled all over the world for some of the biggest brand and businesses. In this keynote she will explain why, at the end of the day, she is still just a farm girl. Katrina claims that one of her greatest mentors is her father, a farmer who has worked the land for 45 years and has never earned more than $17 an hour.

WHAT TO EXPECT: In-depth lessons and how they apply to business environments.
VALUE PROPOSITION: Fundamentals of farming and their application to growing businesses, teams and yourself. In particular HR, investment and work/life balance.



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The ever-luminescent Katrina Barry (MD Contiki) took care of the business side of the evening, launching Contiki’s new initiatives on stage with her trademark blend of sass and sharp humour that had the festival-esque crowd yelling and screaming in delight. Leedham Creative and L3 Studios
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