“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 Sharon Siskie, vice president sales and marketing, international, Disney Destinations; and Michael Goldsmith, vice president of international marketing, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Sharon Siskie: “My first job in travel was at Premier Cruises Lines as a Reservation Sales Agent in the call center. I needed a late shift job while I was going to school at UCF during the day, and the job fit my schedule. It was quite an accident….but over 25 years later I can’t imagine working in any other industry!”
Michael Goldsmith: “While attending the University of Arizona in the 1980s, I talked myself into a job as ‘Campus Coordinator’ for group travel specialists in Tucson, Arizona. This challenging role required me to visit each of the sororities and dorms on campus to promote and sell Spring Break trips to Mazatlan, Mexico. After graduation, I spent five weeks in Mazatlan on the operations side, engaging in difficult and strenuous activities such as setting up volleyball nets and soccer goals for the daily beach activities, distributing credentials and room keys, and awarding prizes for various contests and activities. My choice of a career was certainly guided by that experience.”