‘Traveling’ always makes the short list of New Year’s resolutions. Not only do we understand the draw, but we’re in the business of making it happen. Our advice to kick off 2018: don’t wait. Travel plans don’t happen by themselves. And we never know what tomorrow will bring. Just do it. We’re here for you. Wishing you a rich and meaningful year ahead!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
Seasoned corporate travel specialist Joseph Vengersammy laughs at how years ago a chance meeting over cocktails forever changed his fate, career and future role in global conservation.
He had just immigrated to the British Virgin Islands from his native Guyana to further his teaching career. Suddenly he found himself being offered a job by a travel agency executive. He remembers, “I forgot about teaching pretty quickly. The intrigue of travel just took over.”
Eventually he moved through the ranks and took over managing the office. His next move was to New York, where he honed his corporate travel agency experience with an in-house job at ABC Television, as well as at well known travel agencies. His move to F1S in 2002 was equally serendipitous.
He explains, “An old client called saying he had just taken up a job running the Jane Goodall Institute and wanted me to handle the travel account. The next thing I knew I was working with one of the most important leaders in global conservation. I mean, Dr. Goodall’s mission is to save the planet!”
Being a travel manager for NGOs is very involved, requiring knowledge of specific guidelines and government travel grants. For Joseph, the reward is being part of the mission for good. “When I see a news clip of Dr. Goodall beside an Arctic glacier, or in Africa releasing a rehabilitated orphaned chimpanzee into the Congolese jungle, or celebrating World Peace Day with children in a Nepalese village, I know I was part of that mission. I made it possible. It’s been incredibly motivating.”
Joseph is quick to add that all of his clients, whether they are NGOs or not, offer him a sense of accomplishment. “Whether it’s a client on a business trip or a family cruise, you have to understand what they want, so you can adequately anticipate and satisfy their needs. Nothing beats the feeling of success from a satisfied client. That feeling never gets old.”