“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 Teresa O’Neill, vice president, global sales, Travel Oregon; and Wendy Ferrigno, tourism marketing manager, Visit Loudon.
Teresa O’Neill: After college and a year of working three jobs (at the same time) in Montana, I headed to Oregon and was hired at the Portland Hilton at the front desk. After watching the sales staff host clients at fancy lunches, and meeting Donna Marcou (currently vice president of leisure sales at Tropicana Las Vegas), I decided hotel sales was the job for me. I was promoted to sales manager and for over 25 years in tourism, I’ve loved being engaged with the travel trade market.
Wendy Ferrigno: Take beautiful wine country and its proximity to Washington D.C., and you get a great destination for tour and travel. Three years ago our then-CEO saw potential for growth in this market and, after successfully developing our weddings market, I was ready for a change. I had the dedication to stick with a new initiative and the desire to build something from the ground up. So, here I am! Thankfully, operators are much easier to work with than brides.