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Expert in Customer Centricity, Innovation, & Leadership. Leader of iconic Brands & Startups. Tech Industry Female Leader of the Year.

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A CEO and Director, Katrina Barry has led change and innovation in the tech, tourism, hospitality, wellness and financial services industries. As the Deloitte FastTech50 Female Leader of the Year, she speaks on brand and business transformation, brilliant customer service and team cultures, the highs and lows of start-ups and doing what it takes to make any business, its customers and team members survive and thrive.

Katrina brings to each keynote her trademark style of “enter-train-ment”; her candid blend of engaging storytelling and high-energy training; speeches packed with case studies and take-aways that are designed to motivate, upskill and inspire.

Her most recent CEO role was with Aussie hospotech start-up me&u. After successfully scaling the business in the US and UK, she orchestrated a merger with a competitor to create the global category leader with a $2bn turnover. Previously, Katrina was Managing Director of Contiki Holidays and Trafalgar Tours across Australasia for eight years where she led the brand revitalisation of Contiki. She held senior roles in digital and customer experience for BT Financial and was the Co-Founder and Head of Strategy for Virgin Active gym chain. After a failed attempt at being a lawyer, she began her career at McKinsey & Co consulting, before launching a series of startups with the Virgin Group and Sir Richard Branson. She has topped the Deloitte Tech Fast50 Female Leadership Awards and Women in Travel Power List. She currently sits on the Boards of Webjet and Petsure. As often the solitary female presence and typically the youngest member in the Boardroom, she has learnt plenty of lessons and had many laughs along the way.

Talking Points

Innovation, Customer Service Brilliance and Marketing Cut-through; What you can Learn from Irreverent Brands like Virgin , Contiki and Webjet

In this presentation Katrina shares stories and insights from 20 years working for iconic, innovative and irreverent brands.

The 10 things I learnt from Working for Sir 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.

What gets your brand there doesn't keep you there brand evolution with insight

Lessons from Virgin, Contiki and Webjet on how to stay ahead of the game. Katrina 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; how the Contiki brand has evolved through its unique content marketing approach

VALUE PROPOSITION: Insights on branding identity, philosophy and obsession with customer experiences.

Women in Leadership: starfish, gremlins and ignoring advice

Katrina is a CEO who has never lost her down-to-earth, honest approach to leadership. She is deeply passionate about female empowerment, mentoring and 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 a near high school drop out to CEO and explains her unusual recipe for success.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Reflection exercises on what needs to be done for championing women in leadership. Stats on, and case for closing, the gender gap as required. Stories around the Bbakes and accelerators for women in leadership. How to get a seat at the table.

VALUE PROPOSITION: Katrina’s unique recipe for personal success is outlined that involves taming gremlins and ignoring the advice!

A Good Strategy is Hard to Find: If your strategy can’t fit on a page, you are doing it wrong

Throughout Katrina’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 Farming

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.
Katrina's ability to connect with the audience is unparalleled, she managed to keep everyone engaged throughout the session with great, interactive content. We're still hearing a lot of positive feedback days after the event, and most clients thought Katrina's talk on millennials was the highlight of the day. Not only was she able to exude a dynamic stage presence, she kept the audience hooked with data and questions on the topic, keeping them hungry for more information till the end. Highly recommend! Domain Group

Recently we engaged Katrina Barry, as our keynote speaker for International Women’s Day 2024 to all staff. Katrina was highly engaging and charismatic and provided all of our staff inspiration in thinking through and implementing innovation. Katrina’s broad experience captured our people’s minds as she provided real life examples that have lead to some immediate implementations within our own business. We highly recommend.

Strata Choice

Katrina was an excellent addition to our annual business conference. Her personal business insights and the ones drawn from her years working Virgin were thought provoking and engaging. I would highly recommend her.

Growth Potential

Katrina Barry was amazing and such a great choice as the guest speaker for the evening.

DLA Piper

We had 18 speakers at our last two events and Katrina was rated the top presenter of the day at both the events. I would highly recommend Katrina to any company who is looking for a professional, engaging speaker who can deliver a powerful message and can add the right amount of humour in her delivery. Her teachings have continued to have a dramatic ripple effect throughout the industry following the last event.

International Women’s Day Event for JITO

Katrina’s keynote was nothing short of a masterclass. From the moment we engaged her for the talk to when she took the stage, her seasoned presence and captivating storytelling had us all hooked. She seamlessly blended laugh-out-loud moments from her time working with Richard Branson to deep insights into the global hospo-tech sector. Katrina painted a vivid picture of the future of tourism and hospitality tech, demonstrating her ability to make complex technical topics engaging for a wide audience. She didn’t just discuss trends; she made them feel real and imminent, inspiring everyone to rethink their approach to the intersection of tourism, hospitality, and technology. The Q&A session, handled with ease, showed just how much her talk resonated with the audience. Finding a speaker as impactful as Katrina for our next event is going to be a real challenge!

Host-Tech 2024

Katrina was an absolute pleasure to work with for our recent Millennials Marketing Conference. From our initial planning conversations all the way through to the execution of her talk, she was a total professional. The content of the talk was an excellent standard. Katrina was also rated as one of our most engaging speakers in our feedback survey post event.

Millennials Market Conference and GROWTHTANK

Katrina spoke at our Millennial 20/20 Australia Summit, and her session titled, ‘What gets your brand there doesn’t keep you there - Millennial brand evolution with insight’, was a highlight. Katrina gave a presentation full of insight using engaging examples of the work done at Contiki to reach a rapidly changing market. As a speaker, Katrina was dynamic, knowledgeable, fun, and most importantly, clearly passionate about the presentation content and her work. It was obvious that Katrina knew the content well and was excited to share it with our audience. She communicated her enthusiasm so effectively that a delegate made the point to find me after the session to tell me she felt it was one of the best presentations she’d seen. Additionally, when I needed a panellist at the last minute for a session on “The Future of Work”, Katrina was happy to step-up and assist. With minimal time to prepare, she spoke knowledgeably on the topic, was funny, and was an excellent addition to the session. I would highly recommend Katrina as a speaker.

Millennial 20/20 Sydney

Let's talk, enquire with Luci now

Luci Awad

Senior Consultant - Saxton Speakers

Let's talk, enquire with Luci now

Luci Awad

Senior Consultant - Saxton Speakers

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