Sales manager who loves to travel turns that passion into a career at Bellevue-based Down Under Answers and Africa Answers.
AUSTRALIA/AFRICA TRAVEL EXPERT
What do you do? I am the sales manager for Down Under Answers and Africa Answers. Our [Bellevue-based] company provides wholesale travel to Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific islands and 18 countries in Africa. Our main clientele is travel agents who specialize in these regions. I manage their accounts and educate them on our complex destinations.
How did you get started in the field? My first travel job was pushing wheelchairs at the Las Vegas airport in my late teens. Shortly after that I moved to Seattle, where I applied for a receptionist position in a travel agency that specialized in Australia and New Zealand. I was hired because of my “vast” travel experience in my previous role. I worked for them for a few years in the multiple roles that exist within a travel agency. Soon after, I began working at Down Under Answers on the reservations team and from there moved into a sales and marketing role. I have been with Down Under Answers for 10 years.
What’s a typical day like? Every day is different, and that is one of the best parts of what I do! One day I could be leading a group of travel agents to Australia on an educational journey, the next day I can then be at a conference in Las Vegas promoting our brand (which has happened). I plan a number of events that we host, and can also often be found in the office running reports and working in spreadsheets. It really varies day to day.
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What’s the best part of the job? The travel and the people! I have always had a passion for travel, and I have always wanted to see the world. I am grateful that I’ve been able to turn my passion into a career. I’ve been fortunate enough to see quite a bit of the world, and I am also fortunate enough to work with people — not only my co-workers, but our customers as well — who carry the same passion for travel that I have.
What surprises people about your work? The experiences I have had when I have traveled with my job. These include: jumping off the tallest building in the South Pacific (the Skytower in Auckland, New Zealand); swimming with sharks and rays in Tahiti; standing at the edge of an active volcano in Vanuatu with lava going over my head; seeing a lion kill while on safari; and great white shark cage diving in South Africa.
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