Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
Hello everyone! During a successful career I realized I wasn't happy... like truly, personally not happy. Believing that only we can improve our own life I took a leap of faith, left the only industry I'd ever worked in and followed my dreams to open a travel agency. I believe very strongly that the experiences we learn while traveling make us better in nearly every aspect of our lives. The more we travel the more we care about other people, cultures, and our planet.
While I help travelers with all sorts of travel, I love to focus on women adventure travel. Bringing women together to experience something unique, challenging, and inspiring is an incredible thrill for me and them. Personally, I've seen women find a new strength inside of them that they didn't know they had. I found that strength in 2012 when I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro... something I never thought I was even capable of doing. Not only did I climb it, I summited it. Then I took that strength I found on that mountain into the boardroom where I harnessed it to succeed even further professionally. I fully recognize that Mt. Kilimanjaro is not right for everyone, but my job is to find out what is right for each of my clients.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I'm a member because I believe in the power of women collaborating together. Women helping women is a force that when done well, can't be stopped. Ellevate is an ideal organization for just that plus it gives me a platform to expand my personal brand and network.
How would you define your professional mission?
My mission is to: 1. inspire people to see the world 2. make it really easy for them to see the world.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
My 20+ year career managing account teams for a merchandise marketing agency gave me an incredible skill set including: supply chain negotiation, project management, strategic management, detail execution, creativity, organization, process development, and problem solving. All of these skills are critical when planning a detailed itinerary with a million moving parts from half way across the globe.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
Being named Woman of the Year for the industry that I was previously in. Being recognized as the best in the business was a proud moment for me. It also gave me the inspiration to leave that industry. I felt as though I had conquered it and it was time to conquer something else.
What are some career challenges on your radar?
Much like any business, my challenge is pipeline development. Travel can book 2 weeks to 2 years in advance. Finding the right target audience with multiple people in the pipeline is critical to long term growth.
What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?
I inspired a group of three women to join me trekking the Inca Trail into Machu Picchu then spend a week in the Amazon jungle. These three women had never done a multi day backpack trip and certainly never thought they would live in a hut in the Amazon jungle. Not only did these women trek the Inca Trail they conquered it. They dug deep in the challenging times and celebrated the wins. Each of these three women have since continued their travel, have done even more challenging trips, and tell me often how that trip not only changed their personal life but also their career.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
I always said I only worked so hard so I could travel, but when that work got to be so much that I could no longer travel I knew that I was doing my personal self a disservice. My social media pages sometimes resemble a NatGeo magazine and people would regularly say "I vacation vicariously through you!" Starting my own travel agency was the only option for me. I want to help those people vacation on their own...not through me. I'm proud that I now do that every single day.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is when people come back from a trip I've planned and are ecstatic to tell me about it. To tell me how their kids were so excited and engaged that there were days they didn't even look at their phone. The people who tell me that during their trip they experienced something they had only dreamed of. They tell me that their suitcase isn't unpacked yet they want to talk about where to go next.
What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
I hope to have created a tribe of people exploring the far depths of the world and bringing those experiences back to improve their lives. For example, scuba diving in Roatan taught me about the devastation of single use plastic. I saw it first hand in the depths of the ocean. I'm now a champion to eliminate this plastic from my life and anyone that will listen to me. The first time I was in the ocean with a whale, I knew that I had to work to protect these beings from humans. If I can get even just a few people thinking along these lines, my work will be a success.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
Courage. A lot of things I do scare me. I was afraid of Kili. I was afraid to scuba dive. I was afraid on my first international solo trip. I was afraid to leave a 20+ year career. But I don't let fear stop me. Flexing that courage muscle gets easier each time so I continue to flex it.
What does success look like to you?
Success to me is building a large agency with a dedicated team of successful agents working towards the same goals of inspiring people to travel and making it very easy for them to travel.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Yes, it is. I'm a list person so I use my daily to do list to ensure I'm spending the right mix of time in my personal life, work life, and education/learning life.
What advice would you offer future leading ladies wishing to break into your industry?
Find the right mentor who can help guide you and there are many. This industry takes a long time to learn and even longer if you don't have the assistance of an expert.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
I asked a great friend and mentor of mine how she went from being homeless (literally) to owning a hugely successfully photography studio. How did she stay motivated when the phone wasn't ringing or she wasn't booking clients. Her answer was simple. She asked herself one simple question in these moments "What are you going to do, fail?" I found it simple yet incredibly profound. Success lies within me, so I need to make that choice to not fail.
Also, I love Beyonce's quote "If I'm going to bet on anything, I will bet on myself."
What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?
There is a reason on an airplane if the face mask drops you must put your own make on before helping others. If you aren't well, rested, happy, etc. you are not delivering your best to your family, yourself or your employer/employees. Please, put your mask on first and take care of yourself first.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
CEO & Luxury Travel Advisor
Synergistic Travels, LLC
I followed my dreams, took a leap and decided it was time to make a living doing something I'm incredibly passionate about which is travel and inspiring other people to travel. Seeing the world brings people joy like few other things can and I want to be instrumental in helping people find that joy. In my spare time I travel as much, volunteer with the American Cancer Society, and spend time with my fiancé' and... Continue Reading
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