It was nearing the end of 2009 and the end of a year of major change for me at Carnival Cruise Line. Our long-tenured & much-loved CEO had retired two years earlier. I had reported directly to him for more than 30 years and worked hard to help the new CEO (who came from our corporate financial office) to acclimatise to the sales & marketing side of the business. However, throughout this year it became clear the company was about to shift away from the strong service orientation and culture I had worked hard to develop with my team. Our dedication to service earned us respect in the MICE segment and I didn’t want to lose that respect by leading a transition to “service lite.” As such, I made the decision to go into early retirement.
I spent my newfound hours cleaning up my diet by cooking my own healthy food, increasing my exercise and upping my volunteer hours at the United Way of Miami Dade (Florida) where I had been a member of the health impact council. I helped kick off the inaugural “Reading Pals” program designed to bring early-childhood literacy to under-privileged 4 year olds. I finally had time to spoil myself with fabulous travel destinations from my bucket list.
However, despite having the leisure time to read for pleasure, I was spending an inordinate amount of time reading articles and writings on management, on marketing, and on all segments of the travel industry —especially MICE and cruises. It seemed as though my hobby was business and I was itching to get involved again.
Joyce Landry at Landry & Kling Global Cruise Services was a longtime client who became a friend over the 30+ years we worked together. As her partner retired in 2018, I lucked into the perfect post-retirement gig on a contract basis with Joyce that ticked all my boxes— flexible hours, a 7 mile/20-minute non-highway commute, as well as involvement in the MICE & cruise markets!
After an 8-year break, it was fun to see how the business world had changed. I love the chance to learn and absorb. #1 was the rise of social media and the dominance of e-media in everything we do… and that was pre-COVID’s rise of Zoom.
Going from a large corporate brand to an entrepreneurial organization has been a bit of an adjustment but it has also given me an opportunity to be involved in a range of projects in the sales and marketing area. Last December I worked on a project to build a new web site focusing on sustainability in the cruise industry. The suspension of cruising in the USA gave us a window to launch the site with a series of “Livecast” discussions on “The Future of Cruising” with our CEO Joyce Landry. Sustainability has long been an interest of mine and I’m excited about the increasing attention its being given by the travel industry.
The travel industry has been so good to me over my career. If my efforts can contribute, even in a small way, to rebuilding the cruise business, MICE and travel industry overall, I hope to do my part.
For more musings on business, wellbeing, and culture from SoolNua’s friends from around the globe, you can visit our blog here.