“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 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 Billie Moser and Robert Y. Graff.
Billie Moser, vice president, tourism sales, Travel Portland: I grew up in Austria, and it’s common that youth at 14 meet with a job counselor and a parent to discuss higher education and career options. My mother told the counselor that I was really good at entertaining during our extended family get-togethers and that I enjoyed setting the table really pretty. The counselor said, “OK, she’ll be good in tourism.” And so I went to tourism college.
Robert Y. Graff, vice president of marketing, Papillon Group: I lived in Greece when I first signed up for TWA’s frequent flier program. When I returned stateside, penniless, I sold those miles to buy my first car. I drove that car to my new job working in concierge guest services at the MGM in Las Vegas. Thank you, TVA, for “funding” my fledgling career in the travel industry.