From Student to CEO Cameron Richards and his Path to Success

We are often overwhelmed with pride to learn the triumphs of our graduates. For example, Cameron studied a Diploma in Hotel Management at Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) and says his study there has contributed to his success as a CEO today. We asked him about his career today and how BMIHMS helped shape his path.

Cameron Richards founded Singapore-based CPR Vision Management (CPR)  nearly two decades ago. CPR is part of the world’s largest communications group in WPP and is regarded as Asia Pacific’s leading CRM, Loyalty and Digital Agency and a trusted partner of many leading brands around the world that include, Heineken, L’Oréal, Lancôme, Guinness, adidas, Fairmont Hotels, BAYER, Tiger Beer, Ascott and Mercedes-Benz. CPR has a 17-year history, is a five-time winner of the CRM and Loyalty Agency of the Year award and has been nominated as one of the 25 best companies to work for in Asia.

We asked him a few questions about his career and the empire he has created.

Can you tell us about your organisation and company culture?

I have implemented a culture and environment that has people at the core and centre stage. We have a very open office concept that lends to a management style of choice that is a cocktail of consultative and democratic. We have a common culture/vision geared around four pillars:  People, Product, Performance, Profile. It starts with people first; great people make great companies that lead to great products/services that boosts the performance and the profile of the business.

How did you decide on the course you wanted to pursue at BMIHMS?

I knew I wanted to work in an industry that has people at the heart and centre. I also had a passion for travel. That was the most relevant at that point in time that would best help facilitate my career.

What do you think sets the BMIHMS courses apart from others?

There are many choices these days and what really stands out and sets BMIHMS apart are three things. Their accreditation is not only in Australia but an international certification with the World Tourism Organisation. The history and reputation of the school is of the highest quality. They have been able to re-shape the industry that we see today by being able to provide quality people and to place, guide and direct them in the right areas. The people and team at BMIHMS are experienced educators that bring extensive knowledge and insight to what is taught at the School.

How did BMIHMS help you get to where you are today?

Our business specialises in two verticals, the hospitality and luxury retail industry to provide data, digital, CRM and business intelligence products and services. I get exposure to two high-growth verticals, while also being able to travel to wonderful hotels and resorts around the world and still apply the skills that BMIHMS has equipped me with; the educational knowledge and operational experience. What sets me apart from my colleagues, peers and other agencies is that not many that consult to hotels and resorts actually have ‘real’ first-hand experience in the running, management or language of hotels. BMIHMS filled this gap and by doing so has earned me the respect of my clients. I can speak with authenticity when providing strategic counsel for clients in the hospitality space. 

What was the best thing you learnt at BMIHMS that you use/implement in your career today?

Education – content, knowledge, discipline, people and hospitality skills – in finance, marketing, management and operations. It wouldn’t matter if you stayed in the industry or not, the BMIHMS framework provides excellent life and people skills that you can’t put a price on. If you are staying as a guest or running a hotel, providing strategy or solutions for the hospitality space, or have worked in the hotel space before and need to re-skill; BMIHMS is a game changer. It’s tough, challenging, rewarding and fun. But most important its approach has helped cut through the clutter and provide tools that I use and reference on a frequent basis. 

What would you look for if you were in the position to hire new graduates from BMIHMS?

We always have room for talent. It’s a balance of hard and soft skills that make the difference. For us it’s always about people, culture fit and passion. Work ethic, values and principles are equally important. Skills and education are the icing on the cake. Leaders are not a different breed of people. They are not born to lead, but prepared to lead – hence attitude is key.

What advice would you give current and future BMIHMS students who wish to carve out a career in hospitality and tourism?

If you are considering it, do it. If you have started, don’t quit! The hospitality and tourism industries are booming. There will always be a demand in this space for people. Most importantly with AI and automation, the jobs that won’t be replacing humans with robots are those that BMIHMS will be helping you future proof your brand! 

Cameron’s story is inspirational and is testament to the variety of roles and careers in hospitality management ready to be grasped by our current and future students. Learn more about Hotel Management at Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School and start your journey to success today.