Our Team

Please meet your Focus Central team below – combined we have over 160 years of business travel experience working for both independent and global TMCs.

Abby Penston

Chief Executive Officer

Location: Felixstowe              

When and where did you join the travel industry:  In 1996 I started in the hotel sector, then took a break into Technical Service for eight years before joining a Travel Management Company in 2012.

Superpower:  Talent spotting which is massively reflective in my Central Team 

Biggest weakness:  Bradley Walsh

Hot drink choice:  Cup of tea every time

Favourite quote:  ‘You live but once, you may as well be amusing!’ Coco Chanel

Favourite country to visit:  Italy

 

Barry Higgott

Technical Support Executive

Location: Northumberland              

When and where did you join the travel industry:  I started working for British Rail in 1990,  initially in the ticket office before moving into Corporate Travel with Turista in 1995.

Superpower:Organisation skills 

Biggest weakness:  I love hot curries

Hot drink choice:Coffee

Favourite quote:  ‘Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer’

Favourite country to visit:  Kauai (Small Island Paradise only 20 minutes away from Honolulu). I visited when I managed to get cheap flights in the summer school holiday period and travelled to Lihue, Honolulu, Los Angeles  and then up to Seattle.  We didn’t know what to expect and in hindsight would have stayed in Kauai for the full holiday as it was so amazing!

Dani Ives

Partnership Project Manager

Location: South East London

When and where did you join the travel industry: I started at Instone Marine Travel, Brentwood, Essex in 2009 as a junior consultant and making tea!

Superpower: Extreme organisation skills and keeping a calm head

Biggest weakness: Animals, especially dogs!

Hot drink choice: Earl grey tea with milk 

Favourite quote: ‘In a world where you can be anything, be kind’

Favourite country to visit: Spain! Good weather, beautiful culture as well as amazing food and wine. If you haven’t been, head to Valencia!

Gillian Keir

Online Support and Training Manager

Location:  East Kilbride, Glasgow, Bonnie Scotland  

When and where did you join the travel industry:  Started as a modern apprentice at Thomas Cook in May 2000 (thanks to one of our current Focus Partner’s employees who recruited me into this role).  I love the buzz of travel, booking it, experiencing it and just talking about it!  

Superpower: Me! I am my own superpower, being able to find the positive in almost anything. 

Biggest weakness: Primark, I can never just buy what I went in for!  

Hot drink choice: Decaffeinated tea with one sugar and a coo (milk) – or a mulled wine at Christmas 

Favourite quote: ‘Everything happens for a reason’  

Favourite country to visit: USA – my bucket list is to visit every State. I have already ticked off the smallest one. 

Hazel Dawson

Commercial Manager

Location: Whyteleafe, Surrey 

When and where did you join the travel industry: Officially in 1988 when I became a Tour Guide with Contiki 18-30 coach touring holidays and later joined the corporate travel industry in 1994 as a PA. 

Superpower: Looking at the detail and keeping organised 

Biggest weakness: Handbags, backpacks and suitcases – I get bored of them quite quickly 

Hot drink choice: Black coffee in the morning to kick-start and relaxing peppermint tea in the afternoon 

Favourite quote: ‘A sprinkle of fairy dust’ 

Favourite country to visit: Dubai – I just never tire of the ever-changing architecture .. but the sun and high quality of hotels helps too! 

Laura Currie

Business and Fares Support Executive

Location: Kent 

When and where did you join the travel industry: I started at Amex in 1997 in the fares team, auditing PNRs to achieve cheaper fares. 

Superpower:  A quick learner 

Biggest weakness: Hand-picked blackberries with yoghurt 

Hot drink choice: Pukka’s aniseed, fennel and cardamom tea 

Favourite quote: ‘Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain’

Favourite country to visit: Canada, I love the big open spaces, fresh air, mountains and the lovely people. 

Martin Pearce

Business Development Manager

Martin Pearce

Location:   Walton on Thames, Surrey

When and where did you join the travel industry:  As a junior Travel Consultant Slough 1974

Superpower:  I have the ability to leave cupboard doors open after use without any problem

Biggest weakness:  My daughters

Hot drink choice:  Flat white Coffee

Favourite quote: Stay away from negative people, they have a problem for every solution

Favourite country to visit: USA, Specifically Boston and New England