Home Eco Inspiration In conversation with Tracey Bolton from Banyan Tree’s ILHA CALDEIRA, a private island in Mozambique

In conversation with Tracey Bolton from Banyan Tree’s ILHA CALDEIRA, a private island in Mozambique

by capetowndiva



“I have a philosophy that as long as you give 100% to anything you set your mind on you will succeed. Attitude is everything!” – Tracey Bolton

CTDiva: It seems you’re in the business of miracles! First off, while in Lebanon in 2019 you suffered a pulmonary embolism & one year later you were critically hurt in that massive harbour explosion in Beirut. you lost an eye, among other devastating injuries. And yet here you are, winning at life. Please can you share with us how you navigated the immense challenges (then & now) & what is it that enabled you to pull through so brilliantly.

TB: The mind is such a powerful thing and luckily I am an extremely positive person. I had to mentally strengthen myself because when I woke up in ICU I could not write or tell the time or remember things.  Immediately I made a mental note to get my mind right and started doing brain game exercises, I asked for a calculator so I could start remembering formulas and numbers that I could practice over and over again.  Never did I doubt that my mind would recover fully. I just knew it would take time. I believed that every day I would get stronger and make more progress in some small way and that is what would keep me motivated to excel and improve even more.

With the blast, it was different as I was injured physically. Once again, the positive attitude kicked in. My philosophy was that while I’m this position now, I am going to improve from today; I’ll get stronger and back to my old self.

My attitude in both instances was, “the fire within me burned stronger than the fire around me.”


CTDiva: Physically you’ve had to adapt hugely – can you share any specifics about this journey?

TB: I broke my ankle quite severely so had to learn how to walk properly again. Losing my eye was something I accepted immediately. It was like- “OK, so I still have my other eye and in today’s age the wonders that can be performed meant they would just make another eye so physically it would not be that noticeable. BUT, I did have difficulty as ones depth and perception changes and it takes time for the brain to adjust to working with one eye. All I could do was take it day by day, walking very slowly, watching each step I took, being petrified I might fall by misjudging a step. With practice though, my confidence slowly came back. That’s when you start walking with your head held high trusting your body to walk properly.

CTDiva: We are living in incredibly stressful times & so many women are struggling with anxiety. Dealing with the life-altering fallout from a global pandemic, with uncertainty and the inability to plan ahead, & the emotional upheaval that comes with all that & more, what do you do to maintain a steady heat & a strong spirit?

TB: Attitude is everything!  I am a big believer that in life nothing will be given to you that you cannot handle. My husband has been by my side throughout both experiences and has been my rock. My family and close friends were very patient with me, giving me the emotional support I needed, encouraging me every day. And with my strong will and determination to improve every day, even if it was in a small way it kept my spirit strong. I look back at where I was a year ago and I am so proud of what I have accomplished.

Something so personal I would like to share with you Allison is the doctor who saved my life after the PE with whom I have stayed close to throughout my recovery and to this day, sent me a message recently advising that he had just undergone open heart surgery. After such an experience his words to me were- “I can still salute how strong and determined woman you are” … the biggest compliment given to me yet.

CTDiva: Your portfolio is vast, & from SAA Indojet to Imperial Car Hire to Sun International & all the other blue chip brands in your CV, it seems clear you’ve always worked with big teams. As a women in a position of authority, how do you motivate & inspire others to a level of optimum performance & consistency.

TB: Whenever I join a new team I have 2 messages for them:

  1. As their leader my job is to inspire them whether it be through work or something personal. If at the end of my tenure I have done that, then I know I’ve done my job. I am very open and love sharing and passing on the knowledge and experience I have gained over the years.  I am always willing to share stories and examples both from a business and private point of view to enable my team to be confident in what they do. I believe in positive reinforcement as being the best way to motivate an employee, someone who then looks up to you for inspiration and guidance.
  2. I always tell my team “We are like a pride of lions, kings of the safari plains. Each lion has a different role to play in the pride and without all these different roles the pride would not survive.  They all must play their part and remain strong. Like lions we are a team, and we will always be number 1 as long as we use our different strengths to succeed.”

CTDiva: Which woman on particular inspires you & why?

TB: Definitely my mother, growing up she allowed me to be me, always encouraging me to try new things like tennis, squash, karate, she never expected me to be the best, but as long as I tried MY best she was happy and that attitude gave me the confidence to believe I could be who I wanted to be, as long as I gave 100%.

CTDiva: Tell us what most excites you about Banyan Tree Ilha Caldeira- what is the usp you’d like us to know about?

TB: I am very privileged join Banyan Tree Ilha Caldeira private Island.  It is the first true ultra-luxury private island in Mozambique with 40 private pool villas.

  • Each villa has its own Villa host True ultra-luxury sense of place where one can experience a truly relaxing vacation. Providing a service which is discreet, personalised and anticipatory with subtle details, tailored gestures, genuine warmth allowing experiences and a holiday of a lifetime!
  • In line with Banyan Tree Groups 3 philosophies of the environment, the community and leadership, the Island is 100% solar powered and all water de-salinised on the island as it has never been inhabited, so the island really is  a true tropical paradise.
  • A world class diving  and marine site located within the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago, which happens to be Africa’s largest marine reserve as well as home to Mozambique’s intact living corals, green and hawksbill sea turtles.  All coral on the reef is unbleached due to the island lying on a continental shelf providing stunning rainbow coral dives.

Here’s to the heroines out there. I salute your #resilience!

Until next time,

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