“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: Brian Chuan, director, tourism marketing & development, Macy’s Inc; and Kelli Norman, director of tourism marketing and sales, Virginia Beach CVB.
Brian Chuan: “It all began for me as a part-time job during college. I started as a delivery person for Lion Tours USA. This was way before e-tickets era so I would deliver paper tickets to both wholesale and retail clients. Eventually I got into the tour operations department, managing the inbound tour business and was thus exposed to the wonderful world of the travel industry. Since then, I have experienced many facets of the trade, including hotel (Marriott), restaurant (Planet Hollywood), destination (Hollywood & Highland) and now retail (Macy’s).”
Kelli Norman: “At just 16 years old, a friend talked me into applying for a job at a theme park. Little did I know that each day I was building my skill-set to eventually shape my career. Customer relations, sales, leadership and time management were just a few of the many experiences. After college I was hired full-time to be the park’s director of sales. Then, after many incredible years in a Florida working for a CVB, I advanced my career and moved to Virginia Beach. Seventeen years later, I still love my CVB job as a DOS and, yes, I still have crazy, fun summers!”