What is your story? Or in other words, what made you your awesome self you are today?
25 years ago, I created VIP Vacations, a full service travel agency. Over the years, VIP has evolved into becoming one of the top travel companies for honeymoons and destination weddings; having earned hundreds of industry awards. Utilizing my background in communications, I was able to build a media presence on TV as a travel expert (Fox National News, The Travel Channel, syndicated NBC affiliates) and notable contributing writer for several publications (USA Today, Forbes, Inc, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Cosmo). VIP has a reputation for providing amazing service, travel guidance, as well as being a valued resource to our clients.
What message do you promote?
VIP Vacations creates amazing experiences for our clients through travel. We promote using an experienced travel advisor in planning vacations as we can reduce stress, save time and money and are available if any issues arise.
In what capacity do you LEAD UP in your community?
In the travel agency community, there are 140,000 travel advisors in the USA and Canada and 84% of the advisors are females yet only 14% of those in leadership c-suite positions are female. Because of these numbers, I created a Female Leaders in Travel event to promote more female leaders and tie strong, powerful women together. In July of 2019, 23 female leaders in travel met at our first conclave in Cancun. This group of women represented $630+ million dollars of combined annual sales. This event will now become a yearly meeting and with more female leaders in travel attending.
In business and/or in life, share a struggle you overcame that other women can relate to?
In 2019, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I was quiet about my diagnosis for several months until a week after I had a double mastectomy. Following my surgery, I decided to share my journey on social media. The reaction I received was incredible. I was flooded with support and encouragement. For years, I had always been optimistic and positive on social media and shared my business accolades, travel experiences and displayed the fun aspects of my company. I had always thought this was a good way to highlight my life and my business. However, when I shared the tragedy of my diagnosis and the devastating ordeal that I was fighting, I realized that society wants to cheer for someone when they see the struggle. Sharing the good things is fine, but in sharing my vulnerability and openly discussing my fears, I suddenly became “real”. I now find myself helping other women deal with a breast cancer diagnosis and the years of being a female business owner has empowered me stand up and ask questions from my Dr.’s and do my own research.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
I love seeing the photos from happy clients on vacation!
How do you SHOW UP?
No matter how I feel or what might be in store, I stand tall and acknowledge the fear I might have, but know that fear builds courage. I take on challenges, in fact, I expect them. It doesn’t matter if I fall, it only matters that I “arise”.
If you could give one piece of advice for women who are entering the workforce or launching their own business what would that be?
Link up with other females as a means of support and knowledge. Be prepared to share, contribute and engage with other females, and not just use them as a resource. Like every good relationship, there has to be a balance of give/take for the relationship to be valued and have longevity.