Flight Centre Associates Brand Leader Lee Zanello
When he heads out on his cross-Canada road trip this week, Lee Zanello won’t be rocking into town in a flashy red Flight Centre Associates marketing mobile. “The car itself is going to be different in each geography,” says Zanello. “This trip isn’t about our business in so much that it’s about the businesses of the potential Associates we are wanting to meet. Their business comes first and our roadshow approach will mirror that message.”

[INTERVIEW] Looking for adventure, and new Associates: Flight Centre road trip

Flight Centre Associates Brand Leader Lee Zanello is heading for the highway on an epic cross-Canada road trip that’s part membership drive, part 20th anniversary celebration and part charitable outreach. Starting in the Maritimes this week, Zanello will make his way across the country, spreading the word about Flight Centre Associates. We caught up with him for Sphere’s Insider Interview before he slid into the driver’s seat.


Sphere: You’re embarking on a cross-Canada trip for Flight Centre Associates. Is FCA in growth mode and what sort of numbers would you like to have in Canada over the next 12 months?

Zanello: We are definitely in growth mode. FCA is in its ninth year as a brand and the growth, change and innovation in the brand over the last year and a half has given us the confidence to now go out with the strong message that we are the best option in the Canadian marketplace for a host agency.

We currently have 178 Associates with 13 more on the board for training in the next month and I would like to see us helping 300 Associates build profitable businesses by this same time next year.


Sphere: Is there more competition for motivated and skilled Canadian home-based agents now with more players on the host agency scene?

Zanello: There is definitely more competition and that can only be good for the potential Associate. The innovation I see in the industry now is helping to ensure that the best services and offerings are on the table for home-based agents to decide who they want to partner with.

It’s exciting to see the top host agencies improve their offerings and keeping pace with each other. As the old quote goes, the best stories don’t come from good vs. bad, but rather good vs. good. The competition is healthy and elevates the playing field for everyone involved.


Sphere: How can agents connect with you while you’re on the road and in their hometowns?

Zanello: Our Twitter handle is @FCAssociates and Facebook is simply ‘Flight Centre Associates’. People can follow us using the #FCAOnTheRoad hashtag on both.

We will be publishing our travel schedule to our Facebook page as well and will be accepting individual requests for meetings while we are on the road!

After each roadshow stop we will be publishing video content to our YouTube channel as well, including telling the stories from the Wish Families we will be connecting with.


Sphere: This trip is also about outreach for charitable endeavours that Flight Centre is involved with. Can you tell us about that?

Zanello: Flight Centre has a long standing relationship with Make-A-Wish Canada and I actually just returned from a trek in Iceland where 20 of us from Flight Centre raised over $50,000 for the organization.

I saw a great opportunity in our roadshow to be able to connect with families who have felt the benefit of working with this amazing charity first-hand. We support the organization in many ways, and raise the money, but the stories behind what Make-A-Wish Canada does with that support are what we are really keen on hearing, and we will be meeting with families across the country as we are out there recruiting.

As we evolve this roadshow concept we will also be looking for other opportunities to give back as well and we have some ideas in mind already. Stay tuned.


Sphere: You’ll be visiting five regions of Canada on this first trip: the Maritimes (Sept. 23 – 26); Calgary & Edmonton (Oct. 4 – 7); Vancouver & Vancouver Island (Nov. 6 – 9); Northern Ontario & Southwest Ontario (various dates in October and November); and Manitoba & Saskatchewan (Dec. 9 – 11). You’ll be working, but you’re a traveller too! In each of the five stops, what are you looking forward to seeing the most?

Zanello: Flight Centre is celebrating its 20th year in Canada, and that celebration works so perfectly with this trip where I get to head to places I’ve never been and introduce our brand to some of the smaller cities and towns where we don’t have a traditional retail footprint.

I love a good road trip and Canada does not disappoint when it comes to scenery.

I’m really looking forward to driving the Confederation Bridge later this month. And last year, when we did our first roadshow, I particularly enjoyed the scenery as we covered all of Vancouver Island. It was a beautiful drive.

I am strangely fascinated with the idea of visiting Lloydminster, the city divided down the middle by the Alberta / Saskatchewan border, and I always have amazing meals whenever I am in Calgary. The brunch burger at Holy Grill will be happening!

I am looking forward to the places I know but even more I’m looking forward to discovering the places I’ve never been and meeting as many people along the way as I can!

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