About Grace Fitzpatrick
Grace is the co-founder of Ride International Tours and a key figure in its engine room.
She works behind the scenes putting together all the elements and details that make up a successful and memorable cycling tour holiday.
Prior to becoming a mother to her now 3-year-old twin daughters, Grace worked on the road in Australia and Europe as a tour manager, guide for non-cyclists and support van driver. Grace’s guests lovingly dubbed her “Mum” on tour, so how did she get here?
Grace comes from an Italian family where generosity, passion and community is the cornerstone of her culture. Annual events such as making homemade sausages and sugo (tomato passata), taught her the value of teamwork and the importance of being inclusive and making everyone feel valued; irrespective of their age and experience.
Grace was introduced to the world of business at a young age in 1977, when her parents established a printing company (that is still running today). Each family member had a vital role in the business. From the age of 6, Grace would accompany her parents to work on weekends and school holidays, and would contribute by packing labels into boxes and collating booklets.
The Genesis of Event Management:
At the age of 17, Grace organised a surprise 40th Birthday celebration for her mother – long before the invention of the Internet. With Yellow Pages in hand, Grace took care of every detail to bring the event into fruition, which included pitching a marquee on a family farm, supplying the site with power, catering with traditional Italian fare and a Wurlitzer duke box so guests could hit the dance floor. This experience was the foundation for many events Grace would go on to organising in the future.
Passion for Service:
Grace’s first job was for a popular Australian clothing retail chain, Country Road. During this time, Grace attended a number of workshops and seminars, where she discovered her passion for genuine and excellent service. She learnt the value of listening to customers, and delivering a quality product that not only met their needs, but also exceeded their expectations. This is something that is ingrained in Grace’s DNA and has been infused into every aspect of her life since.
Wine Hospitality & Tourism:
In the early 1990’s Grace moved to London, where she worked at a popular Mayfair Wine Bar. This was the beginning of her love affair with wine. She completed several wine courses at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), London, before returning to Australia.
Grace studied Wine Marketing at the University of Adelaide (Roseworthy Campus), where she graduated DUX of her year in 2000. Whilst studying, Grace worked in the Barossa Valley wine industry, where she became involved in hospitality, tourism, events and lectured as a wine-educator.
Introduction to Cycling:
A chance meeting with Pat in 1996 introduced Grace to the world of cycling. Grace was quick to offer Pat her support for a mountain bike cycling event that he was organising at the time. There began their relationship, a combined passion of cycling and a foundation that would ultimately lead to organising and hosting cycling tours and events around the world.
Whether on tour or working behind the scenes, Grace pours her heart and soul into providing guests with an experience they will savour long after their tour has finished. Along with nurturing a community where everyone feels valued and included, Grace is most happy when people are smiling and enjoying the moment. Her purpose is creating unique and sensory experiences that in turn become cherished memories.
- Barossa Valley TAFE – Lecturer in Advanced Wine Appreciation
- University of Adelaide – Wine Marketing,
- Wine and Spirit Education Trust, London – Wine
- Gawler Tourist Office – SOCOG Community Torchbearer Media Manager
- AMES – Small Business Management
- Hospitality Training Australia – Implement Food Safety Procedures
- Hospitality Training Australia – Workplace Hygiene Procedures
Entries by Grace Fitzpatrick
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