Our Team

Please meet your Focus Central team – combined we have over 200 years of business travel experience, working for both independent and global TMCs. Everything our team does is for the benefit of our TMC Partners.

Anne Marie Crawford

Business Development Manager 

Location: Staffordshire              

When and where did you join the travel industry? Marriott Hotels Heathrow was my main introduction into Corporate Travel in the early 1990s.

What inspired you to join Focus? Abby Penston introduced me to Focus during the pandemic, and explained to me what a fantastic job the Focus Central team do. I arranged some online seminars around Sales and Account Management, and this then led to me running different projects that have continued to enhance the offering of Focus to our Partners and help grow and develop following the difficult times we all went through.

What is your career highlight with Focus so far? Attending all the amazing conferences and meeting our wonderful TMC Partners, highlight was at Focus Champs being asked to participate in the Tech Panel which was thoroughly enjoyable. And the Crystal Maze challenge of course!

Can you tell us something we might not know about you? I collect teddy bears!

What has been your most important lesson learned in your profession so far? Listen very carefully and ask lots of questions to fully understand a situation.

Do you have any hidden talents? I have a very good sense of direction.

If you had to choose one song as your theme tune, what would it be? Don’t stop me now – Queen.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Stay inquisitive and travel lots!

What three “must haves” do you take on a trip? Practical – Purse, phone, and passport Fun – a bear, a book and a family photo.

Barry Higgott

Technical Support Executive

Barry Higgott

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.

What inspired you to join Focus? I had a strong understanding of Focus and its values before joining the company, as I had been a member of the Tech Panel for over 5 years and a Focus Champion for over 10 years while working at a partner TMC. This gave me a good understanding of Focus and its values before joining.

What is your career highlight with Focus so far? Successful implementing Amadeus Cytric across several of our TMC Partners. This has been a great learning experience together with our Partners and it’s been very rewarding to see positive outcomes and successes with the system.

Can you tell us something we might not know about you? I won “Northumbria in Bloom” for the floral display at Hexham Railway Station with my colleague John.

If you had to choose one song as your theme tune, what would it be? “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? The best advice I think I’ve ever received is to “treat others the way you want to be treated yourself”.

What three “must haves” do you take on a trip? Phone, charger, and my toothbrush.

Dani Ives

Commercial Manager

Our team. Focus - Dani Ives

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!

What inspired you to join Focus? I had worked with Focus for a number of years before joining, so I had a good understanding of it’s ethos, and I loved the community within the partnership.

What is your career highlight with Focus so far? Getting the first ever Shining Star award at The Business Travel people Awards, I was nominated for Rising Star however the judges felt that I’d already risen so created a new category which is still ongoing and I have since been invited to be on the judging panel.

Can you tell us something we might not know about you? I only drink earl grey tea, with milk.

What has been your most important lesson learned in your profession so far? Learn from others strengths and never say no, I have worked in nearly every department in Focus now and its helped to give me so much knowledge and experience.

If you had to choose one song as your theme tune, what would it be? She’s Electric, Oasis

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Don’t be the smartest person in the room.

What three “must haves” do you take on a trip? A full skincare routine, my own shampoo/conditioner/shower gel, flip flops or slippers!

Gillian Keir

Online Support and Training Manager

Gillian Keir

Location:  East Kilbride, Glasgow, Bonnie Scotland  

When and where did you join the travel industry? I 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!  

What inspired you to join Focus? Being able to reach and help drive 50+ TMC Partners. To share the knowledge within the partnership. I truly believe there is room for everyone to be successful.

What is your career highlight with Focus so far?  There are so many. I am particularly proud of how we withstood the pandemic, and nurturing and growing the relationships with our technology partners such as Snowfall and Atriis has been rewarding.

Can you tell us something we might not know about you? I have volunteered for Glasgow Pride twice as a driver and I looked after Mel C and the band Steps.

What has been your most important lesson learned in your profession so far? If you make a mistake own it, don’t shy away, it its all about how you resolve the issue that people will remember.

Do you have any hidden talents? Finding the positive in everything. And my attention to detail.

If you had to choose one song as your theme tune, what would it be? This is hard as I love all types of Music, but I will settle on two: Adele – I Drink Wine and Kayne West – Stronger.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Don’t come to me with a problem unless you can suggest a solution.

What three “must haves” do you take on a trip? Extension cable, lip balm, sunglasses.

Hazel Dawson

Commercial Manager

Hazel Dawson

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. 

What inspired you to join Focus? I brought a TMC into Focus many years ago and had a huge respect for Ken McLeod and his team at the time.

What is your career highlight with Focus so far? The amazing relationships that we have built with our supplier partners.

Can you tell us something we might not know about you? I was “made in Hong Kong”.

What has been your most important lesson learned in your profession so far? Mutual respect is a must!

Do you have any hidden talents? I am an Excel ‘queen’ .. I love numbers

If you had to choose one song as your theme tune, what would it be?  “Music” by John Miles

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Don’t send an immediate email response if you are angry – sleep on it before writing the reply.

What three “must haves” do you take on a trip? Phone with book, photos and music. A wrap to sleep under or snuggle up to. And a charm that says “Travel Safe – Adventure Awaits”

Joanne Emerson

PR & Marketing Executive

Our team. Focus - Joanne Emerson

Location: Sussex

When and where did you join the travel industry? 1994 as a trainee with Thomas Cook. Then onto Amex, Fleet Street Travel, and Uniglobe in Brighton & London. I also had a break from the industry working for The National Trust and in the Legal sector.

What inspired you to join Focus? I was inspired by the not-for-profit business model of Focus and the fact that everything we do is for our TMC Partners. During my interview, Abby & Dani were enthusiastic and welcoming and their passion for Focus shone through, I knew then that I wanted to be part of this amazing team and assist the partnership with it’s growth and goals.

What is your career highlight with Focus so far? Helping to organise and attend my first conference – Focus Champs 2023 which was on my birthday! It was a great success and rewarding to bring our partners and suppliers together for an action-packed 3 days.

Can you tell us something we might not know about you? I flew with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II when she broke tradition and travelled on a commercial flight to New Zealand, the plane was installed with a study, dining area and bedroom. I still have the commemorative pen and letter!

What has been your most important lesson learned in your profession so far? To be aware of my ‘unconscious bias’s’ – we all have them.

Do you have any hidden talents? I am a master at ‘name that tune’!

If you had to choose one song as your theme tune, what would it be? I’m Every Woman by Chaka Khan.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Listen and ask questions.

What three “must haves” do you take on a trip? My children when possible, sunglasses, infinite travel snacks.

Laura Currie

Business and Fares Support Executive

Our team. Focus - Laura Currie

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.

What inspired you to join Focus? It was all down to Hazel Dawson.

What is your career highlight with Focus so far? Winning the Partners Award and being nominated for the ITM Service Excellence Award. It isn’t all about these awards and I’m a humble person, just helping people that need it is a highlight for me.

Can you tell us something we might not know about you? I used to be a gymnast when I was young and wonder if that was really me all these years later! I also learnt business Spanish and went to night school, I don’t get to use it much and may have forgotten a fair bit.

What has been your most important lesson learned in your profession so far? To keep calm when things all around seem to be in turmoil, which helps me to think clearly.

Do you have any hidden talents? I am a Yoga instructor and I teach a couple of classes a week.

If you had to choose one song as your theme tune, what would it be? Anything by James.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Rome wasn’t built in a day.

What three “must haves” do you take on a trip? Toothbrush, yoga mat, walking boots.

Tony Edge

Business Solutions Manager

Tony Edge

Location: Cheshire

When and where did you join the travel industry? In 2010 as a junior online support agent for CWT in Warrington.

What inspired you to join Focus? It’s an exciting time to join particularly in the Innovation and Tech space, there is so much potential. I like the business model of the partnership, and I’m keen to be part of a forward-thinking team where ideas and innovation are taken seriously.

What has been an important lesson that you have learned in your career so far? To be honest, honest about limitations, honest about progress, and most importantly be honest with yourself! Put time into you for your own self development.

Can you tell us something we might not know about you? I’m actually afraid of flying. And I’m a youth rugby coach, which I talk about a lot!

If you had to choose one song as your ‘theme tune’ what would it be? Anything by Oasis.

What is your favourite destination? Toronto. Australia is on my bucket list.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Control your own destiny, and don’t try to please everybody.

What three “must haves” do you take on a trip? Phone, flip flops, headphones.