“How I Got My Start” is a regular segment in which we cull a couple of selections from our interviews with international operators, domestic operators, receptive operators, destinations, hotels and attractions to explore the path that led one to a career in the travel trade industry. One thing we have learned: the road to where they are is almost never the same. In this issue, we feature: Dan Gleason, director of sales/agritours Illinois, Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Donna Marcou-Stafford, vice president of leisure sales, Tropicana Las Vegas.
Dan Gleason: The way I got my start in the travel trade industry is that I kind of just fell into it. For my Bachelor’s Degree I had to have an internship and the Quad Cities CVB had one open. Eight years later, I am still there and loving every minute of it. Falling into the travel trade industry was the best fall I have ever taken. And it didn’t even hurt!
Donna Marcou-Stafford: I used to travel a lot with my family when I was a little girl—Orlando, California, Hawaii and even Las Vegas for family vacations….so I picked up the travel bug at a young age. I also said I wanted to be that friendly pretty girl that checked us into the hotel when I grew up! Hence, I became a desk clerk” in my first job! I also was a Concierge, worked in Food & Beverage and Catering Special Events. I then discovered the job of a Sales person and worked my way up to that job. I still love it for over 25 years now!