Why Travel Beyond

At its heart, Travel Beyond is a family business – and my colleagues and I all truly feel like family. At our best, we support and celebrate our successes. When one of us needs support or advice, we are all there to assist. We all continually challenge each other to look for fresh and creative ways to serve our clients. I am fortunate to work with the best of the best in the travel industry. I learn something new every single day I am here!

Education

BA in Public Relations and Communications, University of Minnesota – Twins Cities

Career History

April 2013 – Present: Travel Beyond
During my time at Travel Beyond, I’ve been fortunate to hold three positions that have given me unique opportunities to learn about different aspects of our organization. As a Travel Producer, I gained experience working with client documents and helping to manage all the details that go into a successful trip. When I became a Travel Manager, I further refined those skills while working closely with my Travel Beyond teammates, clients, and our partners on the ground. Now, as the Product Marketing Manager, I am back to my marketing “roots” and am helping execute business goals in each of our core destinations.

2008 – Present: Substitute Teacher / Community Volunteer
I have had the pleasure of working in a variety of personal, professional and volunteer roles in the community. As a Substitute Teacher in the Delano Public School District, I have taught in classes from PS-Grade 12. I follow lesson plans, manage the classroom, and work with other teachers and staff. I am involved in volunteer initiatives that better my community including school, hospital, non-profit and church organizations.

1997 – 2008: ING Financial Services
As the Head of ING Employee Benefits Marketing department, I participated in business strategic planning initiatives, supervised a staff of five employees, coordinated the department budget, and managed all marketing/communication activities for ING’s $75 million Employee Benefits Business. As Vice President of Strategic Marketing, I was responsible for special projects designed to support ING’s business growth initiatives. I led multiple project teams requiring strong leadership and effective influence in a cross-functional business setting.

Most Memorable Travel Experience

It’s hard to top a person’s first visit to Africa – and my trip was no exception. The experiences I had there are still top of mind, even though my trip was over a year ago. I often think of the amazing animals and culture are something you have to see to understand, and of course, Travel Beyond does it right by working with the top properties and guides in the area. I will always fondly remember sitting safely on a deck at a camp in South Africa with some friends. We sipped champagne and watched a young bull elephant eat his way through the camp’s carefully groomed plants and trees. It was humorous, but it was also a reminder about the strength and beauty of these creatures. There was no mistaking that we were the visitors here and this was HIS place.

Favorite Camp/Lodge/Hotel

Victoria Falls River Lodge (Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe)
My first trip to Africa included a visit to the Victoria Falls River Lodge. This beautiful property sits on the banks of the Zambezi River, just far enough from the city of Victoria Falls to get a real sense of the ecosystem in that portion of the country. The lodge management is very sensitive to the footprint they are leaving in the park and work to minimize the impact on the natural activities of the animals. They strive for ways to make the property blend seamlessly into the natural environment, while simultaneously achieving a luxurious and comfortable lodge experience.

The One & Only Hotel (Cape Town, South Africa)
Cape Town becomes all visitors “new favorite city” and it’s no wonder why: fantastic views of the ocean and Table Mountain, an abundance of cultural activities, and shopping/eating to your heart’s content. Now imagine an oasis in the middle of this city – and you’ve got the One & Only Hotel. As you walk into the lobby, you are met with amazing views of Table Mountain. The rooms are amazingly appointed, with comfort and luxury at every turn. The hotel is centrally located near the waterfront which means a variety of activities are close at hand. A visit to Cape Town is only made better by a visit here!

Belmond Palacio Nazarenas (Cusco, Peru)
Set in the heart of Cusco, the Belmond Palacio Nazarenas is a beautifully restored 17th-century palace and convent. The hotel blends amazing courtyards and natural areas, with the traditional Inca walls that still stand throughout the city. The accommodations, amenities, and service at this hotel are exquisite! No detail is missed and the hotel uses every opportunity to make each guest feel welcomed and special throughout their stay. Unique experiences along the way (including a Cusco Sour demonstration and tasting!) make an already amazing experience, even more spectacular. This is a perfect place to relax and reflect after a journey through the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu.

My Most Recent Trip

In December of 2019, I traveled to Southern Africa with my colleagues Jeanie Fundora and Kota Tabuchi. We hit some of the highlights of South Africa, including a stay at Jabulani Safari – be sure you check this out to experience some really special wildlife encounters. This is a beautiful camp with a true, established focus on conservation. We traveled throughout Kruger National Park before heading to Liuwau Plains National Park in Zambia for a stay at King Lewanika Camp. It’s hard to describe this large, remote and beautiful park. Amazing herds of wildebeest and zebras, and plains as far as the eye can see! Not to be outdone was Bumi Hills, in the Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe. This is not your typical safari destination, but I promise you will love it! Beautiful vistas, incredible staff and very special wildlife and cultural interactions. We ended the trip with a visit to Singita Pamusha in Zimbabwe’s Malilangwe Reserve. Whether thinking about the staff, service, wildlife experiences, or food, we were absolutely spoiled here. Although none of us wanted to leave this little paradise, it really was the perfect way to end our time in Southern Africa: I may have left with a tear in my eye, but I also brought home many warm memories that will always make me smile!