A lot of New Zealand’s finest young minds go abroad to apply their kiwi ingenuity in foreign markets – Jeremy Gleeson is no exception. One of the founders of the cruise company MedSailors, Jeremy’s job is to take young wanderlusters around the Mediterranean for a week of fun in the sun. I was lucky enough to go on their Croatia Discovery trip around Croatia and it was definitely one of the best things I have ever done.
Sounds like a dream job right? I thought so, so I grilled Jeremy all about how he founded MedSailors, what it takes to run a cruise and just how it is all going. Hold onto your hats friends – Ahoy we go!
Name: Jeremy Gleeson
Occupation: Marketing Director, Navigate Travel Ltd
What did you study and what was your original intended career path?
I’ve always been passionate about design so studied for a Design Degree majoring in Visual Communications.
Following this I did a short stint in a packaging design firm, before deciding a career in Advertising in an environment that puts such a value on the power of ideas was where I wanted to be.
Give us a brief overview of your career to date:
I started my career with a seven year stint working as an Art Director at LOWE & Partners in Auckland, New Zealand. Following this I moved to London taking up a role at BBH in London, first as a Producer and later a Production Director. During this time at BBH I balanced my work there with the late nights and weekends required to get MedSailors off the ground. I left BBH in the middle of last year to work fulltime at MedSailors.
How did MedSailors come about?
In 2009 we bareboat chartered a couple of yachts with a group of mates in the Ionian Islands in Greece. It was an incredible week together and led Daniel and Hamish, the other two co-founders, and I to think that surely there would be others who would also love to spend a week holidaying on a yacht in the Mediterranean. And so MedSailors was born!
Why start up in the UK and focus on Turkey, Croatia and Greece?
London is a wonderful place to base ourselves as it allows us to be surrounded by so many vital business partners, easy travel options to the Med and access to fantastic staff who are so critical to our business.
How many people go on your boats each year?
We sail for a five month season from the end of April to early October each year. On each of our routes we sail in small flotillas of 7-8 yachts meaning you’ll be sailing and socializing with a great group of 60-70 other keen travellers.
What are some of the most exciting parts of running MedSailors?
As the Marketing Director one of my responsibilities is to manage the production of all of our film and photography. This inevitably means I have to spend some time every summer in Med working with some very talented filmmakers and photographers. This is always a highlight of my year!
What has been some of the biggest challenges for you?
The continual search for improvement. We’re a pretty restless company and the team are continually trying to work out how we can be better in all facets of the business. It’d be far easier to sit still, but it’s just not our style.
What’s next for MedSailors?
We’re really excited about the additional six weeks of sailing we’ve added for Turkey in May and June this year.
How do you define success?
Enjoying yourself. If you enjoy your work then you’ll be successful in whatever you do.
What would you say to your 21-year-old self?
Don’t be in such a hurry trying to work it all out now. If you’re lucky your life will be long and will twist and turn in wonderful ways you never imagined.
What person dead or alive would you invite to a dinner party and why?
Will Ferrell, with the proviso that we break the evening down into 30 minute windows where he’s a different film character. We’ll start with Elf, work our way into Step Brothers and Anchorman and then bring it home with some Mugatu from Zoolander and Frank the Tank from Old School Uncut.