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I’m Sam, and I am one of the biggest believers in potential over experience. I started my career in travel as a theme park operations manager, and took a leap of faith to move into a marketing world I was not familiar with. I was lucky enough to have incredible mentors and leaders who saw potential in me when I lacked experience and took the time and care to develop both me as a human, and me as a professional. In my current role as a Marketing Program Manager at Universal Orlando Resort, I look to do the same thing for evident talent whenever I have the opportunity!

Why do you believe it is more important now (COVID-19 impact) for women supporting women in travel?

Everything feels about 10x harder this year, so spaces that already may have felt limited feel even narrower. Additionally, this year career growth feels like a far-away and abstract concept. There’s so much existing stress – job loss, the pressure to overperform in an organization threatened by COVID-19, the need to have emotional bandwidth for yourself AND your direct reports – that it feels like any time for meaningful thought and consideration around career advancement is completely gone. Really now more than ever before we have to come together to support each other on a variety of levels.

What does meaningful mentorship connection mean to you? 

Meaningful mentorship means an authentic relationship based on care and consideration and a true championing of others. Too often people want a mentor for the sake of having one, or finding a person who has all the answers. A true mentor is someone who thinks through the questions with you and helps you arrive at the answer on your own. Mentorship is connection with a person who sees themselves in you and only wants to grow and nurture that in the most helpful of ways.

In your opinion, what will be the consequence of COVID-19 impact on women’s careers in the absence of change?

Personally I think COVID-19 is going to add another layer of constraint to an already often constrained environment. The eradication of lines between work and home are going to lead to feelings of burnout, isolation, and general frustration. When previously an in-person support system was bountiful in times of work stress, we’re dealing with a present that can really make anyone feel very alone.

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