I was blessed to be promoted at work and traveled to 12 different locations this past year. Each of these trips allowed me to either visit a part of our country I’ve never seen, or revisit familiar places through different lenses. It has been an adventure that I would like to share with you.1. The first trip of the year was to Seattle, Washington. A place I’d never been, but always wanted to go. I got to do some sight-seeing and re-connect with an old friend. Professionally this trip proved to be the foundation and the motivation for Engagement, which I lead. It was the first large airport launch, so everything we did was an opportunity to learn and grow. Personally, I learned that I had to believe in myself and my talents, and take a leap into the unknown. In Seattle, I learned to let go of everything that was comfortable and familiar, and begin a new journey into a whole new world.
2 and 3. The next trip was to Tulsa, Oklahoma and NW Arkansas. This was my first trip with my new title. It was an airport refresh, and I learned how to turn a potentially negative airport meeting into a positive, more engaged airport opportunity. I stayed at a hotel in a charming gentrified area of Tulsa, and even took a run in the heart of the city. That was truly a highlight for me. From Tulsa, we drove to NW Arkansas, a place I’ve also never been. All I can say about NW Arkansas is that there were lots of dirt roads, cows and pastures. Back in Tulsa, there were really cool restaurants that had great bands, and is a place I really wouldn’t mind returning…I learned to follow my instincts in Tulsa.4. Washington, DC was up next. Though I’ve been there a thousand times, visiting it with professional lenses helped me to see it in a whole new light. We learned that location and training is key to optimizing our time at all airport refreshes moving forward. I hired my first interns and they were awesome. My aunt hosted a NBA Championship Game party for my co-workers, and I got to share my work family with my peeps, and the HEAT won, which capped the night off perfectly. I got to reconnect with my BFF and we had an old fashion sleepover and shared some new connections that only a BFF could understand…I learned how to combine the old and the new in DC.
5. Next trip was home to Newark, NJ. This was just fun. To go back home and see something that you helped build throughout the airport was just awesome. During this trip we decided to take the company Mobile, and this changed how we do all airport launches! This trip just took me down memory lane. I thought about where I grew up in Doddtown and Cleveland Street, going to HS in Newark, and how going to NYC was as easy as 123. I explored my past in Newark, and I discovered how ones past does not determine ones future, but contributes to who we are…what a blessing!6. After running (and passing out) the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race (10K), I was off to Gulfport, Mississippi the next morning. This trip was emotionally and physically draining, because my body was still recovering, and my heart was completely transparent. Professionally, there was one meeting after the other, but the experience was invaluable, because this particular airport utilizes all of the TA products, which generates multiple revenue opportunities. This is the goal for all airports, so I had to be on my A game. Gulfport taught me to listen to my heart and instincts no matter what.
7. Portland, Maine was up next. This was a great trip and professionally taught me that developing relationships with airport management is most important to building multiple revenue opportunities. I learned to network in and out of the airport, and got to see a really beautiful part of the country right on the ocean, which is my favorite place to be. I took a ferry ride and had the most delectable Lobster you could eat…oh yeah, I may have had one cocktail too many, but my co-workers had my back. In Portland I learned that working hard and playing hard is all part of the job…LOL.8. Next I got to visit the west coast again, and landed in Portland, Oregon. This was a great professional experience, because I got to see how the program can thrive when the airport incorporates our company into the airport culture. This trip helped me discover the connection between customer service and engagement, and this is now part of my strategic plan. In Oregon, I learned to rise above the limitations and judgments of others, and simply do me.
9. The most exciting trip of the year had to be Anchorage, Alaska. Professionally, I helped train staff, met with managers, and attended a management presentation with the CEO of the Airport. Though the weather was cold and rainy, we did manage to eat Alaska king crab, and visit Mirror Lake on the way to Wasilla (Palins Home). Just being able to say I went to Alaska is huge, but the Alaska trip helped me make huge connections that will last a lifetime.10. Next up was Greenville, SC. I drove to this location and expected this to be my least favorite adventure. Greenville turned out to be one of our best launches to date. We learned how to completely collateralize an airport, and added the text option to our mobilization strategy. In Greenville, I learned that even the small, mundane places, can be exciting and beautiful if you open your eyes to the possibilities.
11-12. The last three launches of the year took place in Atlanta, Little Rock, and Raleigh/Durham. Professionally I learned that organization, planning, training, and press are all of the elements needed to rock a launch! And we do it so well now. Personally…In Atlanta I learned that there is no place like home to realize your dreams. In Little Rock, I learned that home is where your heart is, and in Raleigh/Durham, I learned that complications are a part of life, and life is what you make it.Happy New Year and I can’t wait to learn from and see the places I go in 2013!