“As a business owner, I appreciate that TJX has made an ongoing commitment to support diverse suppliers like my company.”
CEO and Founder of Atlas Travel
Q: Was it an easy transition?
A: Starting a travel business with no travel or business experience was challenging, but I was brought up with a strong work ethic so working hard was not a problem for me. There were a few surprises when I first opened my business. For example, as a local business owner, I wanted to network through local community organizations, but the Lions and Rotary Clubs didn’t accept female members — something I didn’t expect! I heard “you can’t” from a lot of people and that motivated me to focus even more on “I can.”
Q: And you did!
A: Within a few years, I became the town’s first female Rotary Club member, and by 1997, I had grown the business enough to be able to shed the franchise relationship. I now have nearly 200 employees across the U.S. and U.K., and we serve 500+ corporate accounts, as well as individual vacation travelers, incentive programs, and meeting planners.
Q: What does it mean to be identified as a woman-owned business (at least 51% owned, operated and controlled on a daily basis by one or more females, as designated by the U.S. Small Business Administration)?
A: Being certified as a woman-owned business has opened doors for us, no doubt. We’ve been able to generate new leads and secure more business relationships because of it. But ultimately, retaining the business comes down to our ability to provide customized, superior service. My philosophy has always been to hire the best professionals available and then move out of the way so they can do their job.
Q: Why do you think Atlas and TJX make good partners?
A: As a business owner, I appreciate that TJX has made an ongoing commitment to support diverse suppliers like my company. In addition, we see many similarities between the TJX and Atlas cultures. At Atlas, we value people, and foster a diverse, inclusive environment. Our Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives focus on achieving goals set forth by our five Strategic Pillars. To support our desire to welcome individuals with a wide breadth of experience and expertise, we created a travel program in a local high school and encourage those interested in a career change to consider our exciting industry. We provide mentoring, in addition to comprehensive training, through our Atlas University. The more I think about this, the list of similarities seems endless.
Q: You not only have passion for your business, but you have passion for your community?
A: The entire company works together to give back to our communities. Our employee-run Corporate Social Responsibility program, ReachOut, empowers Atlas employees to get involved in many charitable opportunities, including volunteering.
Q: What’s your favorite place to travel?
A: I have been blessed to be able to travel to many wonderful destinations all over the world, but there are still so many places left to visit. My favorite place is where I happen to be at that moment! Every destination provides a unique experience and something to be appreciated and remembered. I always travel with an open mind and willingness to explore all that a destination has to offer.