Amanda Thompson OBE is Managing Director (CEO) of Blackpool Pleasure Beach in the United Kingdom. She is second vice chair of the IAAPA Board of Directors and in 2020 will become IAAPA’s third female chair.

Thoughts on Women in the Industry

How have you seen the industry evolve in regard to gender roles?

There are few women in senior positions, as the history of our industry has traditionally been male dominated. This is changing, thought, and there are several women in senior positions, such as Jane Cooper at Herschend Family Entertainment, Bonnie Weber at Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Catherine Powell at Disneyland Paris, to name but a few. As with all industries, things are rapidly changing in this sense.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to convey to women starting their attractions careers?
Work harder than any man, and make sure everyone gets to spend time with you to discuss problems and issues.

Creating Careers of Distinction

How do you invest in yourself as a leader?

I sleep when I can! On a serious note, spending time with other people in the industry helps me greatly.
What is your most cherished work principle?

Be honest, work hard, and be passionate.

What do you consider your most significant career accomplishment?
Being awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) for recognition of my work in the tourism industry has been the highlight of my career to date. I do believe that you are judged on everything you do so with that in mind I’m always proud of everything I achieve.

One of my earliest, and also proudest, achievements was the first show I produced at Europa Park when Roland Mack had the faith to employ me. I spent 13 years working with the Mack family and that was the beginning of my global adventures with Stageworks Worldwide Productions.

What has been the greatest challenge of your career?
The greatest impact and the greatest challenge of my career were the deaths of my father, who I idolized, and my grandmother, whose father created Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Working with IAAPA helped me immensely, and the sharing of knowledge and working with other people in the industry helped me overcome this, step up and meet new challenges.
What was the greatest piece of career advice you ever received?
Remember to listen to your gut instinct.  It is extremely valuable no matter what anyone else tells you.

The Future of the Industry

Why did you join and choose to stay in the attractions business?

I was born into the industry as the fourth generation of our family business. I have had many opportunities to leave, but I never could and always knew if I left the business it would be difficult to return. Our family business is in my heart and soul, and it would be impossible to be torn away from that.
What makes you most passionate about the industry?
The people, the creativity, and the fact that it is constantly changing.
What is your vision for the industry in the next 20 years?
That it should always evolve whilst remaining real. As the world of technology takes us further into our screens, the reality and thrills of rides will become more important to people.

​​Know a professional we should talk to? E-mail Prasana William, IAAPA manager, digital content and strategy.


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