Starting and running a business is a little like finding a dragon egg. You know what you have is special, so you nurture it with your whole heart and when it finally hatches, you now possess something entirely magical that could also possibly destroy you. You don’t know how to raise it because there are no manuals specific to dragons – so it’s your job to discover what to feed it to keep it alive, how to pour love into it so it remains likable, and how to let it grow to its full potential without burning down an entire city.
And that’s why I’m so thankful for the Wendy Perrin Summit. Every one of the attendees want so badly to change the world with what they have crafted as a business and with what they craft on a daily basis for their clients. We are equal parts artist and entrepreneur and we might actually lose our minds if we couldn’t interact with others who say, “You’re going through this, too?!”
It’s my first year on the list and I remain absolutely humbled by the caliber of the attendees. These are individuals who have been running the most successful travel organizations across the globe, each one hand-selected by Wendy as a destination expert for The WOW List. For someone who has been a fangirl of all things travel industry, it feels a little like walking into the room of a Justice League meeting, where all of the greatest superheroes on earth have gathered to discuss the state of the universe.
Over the past 48 hours, I’ve heard everything from the celebration of success to the fear of failure. Our hearts break over the evil we see happening across the globe as we know it so deeply impacts our peers. This was so poignantly stated when one of of our friends from a destination under extreme duress from terrorism began his introduction with, “This year, we have no innovations. This year, we have simply survived.”
That moment of pure transparency set the tone I witnessed throughout the entire weekend. Imagine a room full of people you admire sharing their greatest strengths and acknowledging their deepest weaknesses. There are challenges that we have simply looked at in our own lives and said, “I don’t have an answer for this,” only to find that someone from halfway across the globe does. The wealth of knowledge, the lack of egos, and the willingness of each WOW Lister to live open-handed with their struggles was transformative.
Transparency is the beating heart behind Wendy’s organization and, in the past year, I’ve come to find how much it elevates both sides of a relationship. For the clients who have chosen to let down their walls, who have let me in on their stories – not just the highs, but also the lows – I find myself even more passionate at curating an unforgettable experience. Many clients have shared that the vacation we’re planing is an escape from a personal hell that they’ve encountered in their day-to-day lives: the passing of a relative, the sudden leaving of a significant other, the diagnosis without a cure.
We recognize that they are trusting us with these precious secrets, stripping to their most vulnerable so that we understand the gravity of their reality: that this is more than a vacation, it is a moment in their lives that needs to change a trajectory or close a chapter or stitch up a broken heart. To have this trust bestowed upon us is evident that a genuine career in the travel industry is much more than just a job, it’s an honor.
In speaking with my peers on the WOW List, I see so plainly that they feel this same way. Wendy and her entire team – Jill, Brooke & Billie – have cultivated an amazing network and culture. The WOW List certainly highlights the best of the best in destinations, but it also highlights the best of the best in character, and that’s something to be proud of.
Cheers to the 2017 WOW List (and our new friends in the testing phase!) – and here’s to many more! To read more about the 2017 Wendy Perrin WOW List, please click here: