Bolton School Former Pupils

Dominic Speakman (1984-1994)

Occupation:       CEO of Destinology, one of the UK's leading luxury tour operators

Qualifications:    MSc Operations Management

Awards:            Named as one of Startups Business Young Guns of the Year 2007


What is your fondest memory of studying at Bolton School?

That would definitely be captaining the water polo team to the national championship.

What further study have you undertaken since leaving School?

I completed an MSc in Operations Management from the University of Nottingham.

How did you progress to your current role and what does your job involve?

After graduating, I secured a graduate job in management consulting with PriceWaterhouseCoopers. After a year I decided to join the family business, Travel Counsellors, where I became Managing Director. When I left, the business had 600 staff and sales of £150m. Then I started my own business, Destinology, which is now one of the leading luxury tour operators in the UK with over 100 staff and sales of over £50m.

As CEO I oversee the strategic direction of the business. I have a great team that ensure the business operates to the highest standards, which leave me to focus on growing the business.

Which skills do you consider to be essential for your job?

I would say listening to other people’s opinions, and the ability to delegate and to empower others to make decisions. Also with a web based business, good analytical skills are needed to crunch the numbers and assess what does and doesn’t work.

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy the fact that every day is different and that we have created a company where people enjoy coming in to work.

What is the biggest challenge in your current role?

Keeping ahead of the game in the constantly changing online world. You have to try new things, even when they are unproven, many of which never pay off.

What/who influenced your career choice?

My dad has always been an entrepreneur and inspired me to own my own business.

How did Bolton School help you to be successful in your chosen career?

It gave me a great grounding in life. As much as it was a really solid education, the School had great standards and a good balance between work and sport.

What advice would you give to our pupils interested in your field of work?

The biggest piece of advice for being an entrepreneur is to just have the courage of your convictions and do it. So many people have great ideas, but never do anything about it!