with Mary Goldsmith, BDM with Holland America and Seabourn

A smiling face at many industry events, this travel pro loves her job – and it shows. 

Where were you born? In Toronto. I’ve lived in the Toronto area all my life.   

How long have you been in the business? 45 plus years! My first job was in 1977,  working for Champagne Tours, the package division of Humbertown Travel. I’ve been with Holland American 20 years next month.

What’s the best part of the job? Being with a great company: I really enjoy working with both cruise lines.  And the travel agents. I wouldn’t be in this crazy business if I didn’t.

What did you want to be as a kid? I always liked sales, even when it was Girl Guide Cookies.  

What was your first-ever job? At Loblaws, as a cashier.  

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Getting married? (Laughs) No. I would say skiing in France, down a diamond run. Oh, and changing positions after 18 years with Horizon. 

Any guilty pleasures? Good chocolate. And good red wine. They’re a girl’s best friends. 

What’s your favourite airline? I’d say WestJet, for the onboard service.

Favourite hotel chain? Sheraton. They’re loyalty program has always been excellent.

What’s on your tablet? Netflix. I like everything!  I go from drama to romance…love The Crown.  

When are you happiest? When I’m home, relaxing in front of the fireplace with a good book.  

What would you tell your 20-year-old self? “Enjoy your career.”

Who do you most admire in the industry? In the cruise industry, Vanessa Lee. She’s been out there and knows what she’s doing.

What skill or talent do you admire in someone? Being able to present and think on your feet.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? An African safari.

Ever had a brush with fame?  I had the pleasure of sitting with Mary Tyler Moore at a conference luncheon. Great lady.  Remember watching her shows all the time.

What keeps you awake at night? Work. 

How do you spend your frequent flyer points? On travel.

What is your greatest extravagance? Buying a mink coat when I was 35. 

How do you stay fit when you travel? Walking. I walk every day.

Any idea how many cruises you have been on? Not really. Fifty maybe? 

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? We’ve come a long way, but I would have agents licensed individually, like real estate agents, to sell specific products that they are qualified and trained to sell, and working off a fee schedule rather than on commission. I think they would be more respected. 

If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be? Somebody who doesn’t talk! (Laughs) Seriously, my husband. I love spending time with him.

Do you have a favourite charity? Cancer.

What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months? Confidence in our economy. 

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? Retired. Travelling. Relaxing!

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