Home > Podcast > EMEA Recruitment Podcast > 155: EMEA Recruitment Podcast #155 – An International Career Journey – Mark Steele

155: EMEA Recruitment Podcast #155 – An International Career Journey – Mark Steele

March 8th, 2023

Thank you to Mark Steele, Director Corporate Planning at International Air Transport Association (IATA), for joining us on the EMEA Recruitment podcast. 

“There’s always a solution, and we will always find a way to deal with it.” 

To begin the episode, Paul Toms delves into Mark’s international career. Mark previously worked at Nissan for 22 years across Europe – in the UK, France, Finland, the Netherlands and Switzerland. 

In today’s market, 22 years in the same company is uncommon. However, for Mark, the years went by quickly; the longest he stayed in the same role at Nissan was for three years, before having the role expanded or changing location.

Mark admits he has been very lucky to meet great people in great places. He explains that, in any situation, you can always find common ground. His advice for others considering an international career opportunity is to weigh up the pros and cons, but to not be afraid – life is short. If you do decide to accept the opportunity, give it at least six months before deciding the job is not for you, he adds. 

Paul askes Mark about his role as Director Corporate Planning at IATA. Mark finds the scope of his role excellent and praises his outstanding team, which is respected across the organisation. 

As a leader, Mark is a firm believer of trust, honesty, inclusivity and consistency. He gives mention to a previous manager at Nissan, named Rob, whose managing style has influenced Mark’s own approach. 

To gain top quality people, Mark says you must be crystal clear in what you want and the job description of the role, as well as to not over-spec or under-spec. 

Discussing the future of the Finance function regarding business intelligence and data, Mark discuses the sheer mass of data IATA currently holds; the company represents 300 airlines, which is over 80% of global air traffic. 

As a function, Finance is extremely focused on data. Mark believes that data is great, but does bring its own problems – deciding which reports are useful, which aren’t, and which ones can be improved to make this data more useful for the organisation is the next step in the process. 

Mark accepts there is a risk of employee burnout. During COVID and its corresponding restrictions on travel, IATA lost huge amounts of revenue and underwent a restructuring. As a result, 20% of positions were lost – four of which were in Mark’s team and have yet to be replaced. This means they must be extremely critical in tasks they accept and laser sharp on prioritisation. 

Listen to the end of the episode to learn about how Mark looks after his wellbeing outside of work and the advice he would offer to his 18-year-old self.


To find the part of the episode that interests you most, please use these timestamps:

01:35: The last thing that made Mark smile 03:40: Key takeaways from Mark’s international career journey 06:15: Working for Nissan for 22 years 10:20: Advice on international career opportunities 16:20: Mark’s role as Director Corporate Planning 19:10: Managing a team at IATA 22:55: Qualities of a leader & the manager who inspired Mark 25:30: Making the recruitment process efficient & effective 28:45: The impact of BI & data on the Finance function 33:00: The progression of the Finance role 35:10: The risk of burnout 37:35: How Mark looks after his wellbeing outside of work 40:50: The importance of family & advice for your 18-year-old self

If you’d like to contact Mark, connect with him on LinkedIn


Operation Smile is the official partner of the EMEA Recruitment podcast. We’re committed to creating 100 new smiles through this partnership. If you can help raise awareness or funds for this cause, please visit emearecruitment.com/operation-smile


This episode was hosted by Paul Toms, our Founder, and Rose Jinks, Marketing Manager.

To learn more about our international recruitment services, please see our website: https://www.emearecruitment.com/ 

You can also follow us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/emea-recruitment-limited 

To connect with Paul, you can find him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paultoms/ 

Or follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/paul_toms 


Are there any topics you’d like us to cover in future episodes? Please get in touch with Rose: rose.jinks@emearecruitment.com 


#emearecruitment #emearecruitmentpodcast #marksteele #paultoms #operationsmile  #operationsmileuk #finance

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