Denissa is one of the longest working employees at I Love Travel. During our interview she shared her stories and favourite memories with I Love Travel. It's very obvious that this is her #JobofaLifetime.
Explain what you do at I Love Travel In one sentence?
What’s the best part about working at I Love Travel?
The most gratifying part of my job is seeing all of the hard work come to life for all the travelers to enjoy on destination (vacation). Undoubtedly I work really closely with the sales team so seeing the sales team work so hard to get a group of travelers on destination is great. It’s amazing to see them rebuilding those traditions year after year for more travelers to experience.
What mantra do you most relate to?
I’m a part of the ‘Make an Impact’ team so I definitely relate to that one the most. When it comes to what we do we tend to make a big difference for the travelers. Not only in regards to volunteering but to the overall travel experience that we give them as well.
How would you describe your I Love Travel Journey?
It’s been a long journey, I’ve been with the company for 10 years. I began as an Organizer when I was 16 in 2005 while I was in high school which is how I met the guys (the founders: Alex, Justin, Eugene). I worked the closest with Justin and planned my Grad Trip in grade 12. As a Junior Sales Rep I was social and well connected, so I helped the company with recruiting and did that throughout University. Since then I’ve also dabbled in Sales, helped out around the office, did Destination Staffing, and then eventually I was hired on full time as a Trip Planner or Sales Rep. From there I was promoted into Leadership and I’ve been in my current position for two years.
What’s your favourite I Love Travel Memory?
My favourite I Love Travel memory was at Winter Academy when they were doing staff acknowledgements. They were going by work anniversaries and I thought they skipped me because they got to the 7 and 8 year mark and my name still hadn’t been called. Finally they announced me as the longest working employee, which was surreal because I beat out Bernie, a company favourite from the accounting department. She is one of the cornerstones of the business and long time team member. That was when it set in that I had been with the company for so long. It was especially rewarding because I had been there at the first academy and I had just been announced as the longest working employee.
Another great memory was when we finally acquired Breakaway Tours. This was a merge that I was in the middle of, so when they announced that we had come together it was a huge accomplishment and a relief at the same time! Over the years Breakaway Tours was one of our larger Canadian competitors, so I knew at that moment we were going to grow so much more because we had just successfully monopolized the market.
Where have you traveled with I Love Travel?
So far I’ve staffed: Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Cancun, Cayo Coco, Varadero. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to travel to the newer destinations but hopefully in time that will change.
The company also gave me some amazing travel opportunities besides staffing. We had a former #TripofaLifetime program which were incentive trips that allowed me to travel to Greece and sail the Greek Islands. I was also fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to travel to Peru where we climbed Machu Picchu.
What 3 items do you always pack on a trip?
Running shoes, sunglasses and snacks. I always have a granola bar or protein powder with me on destination.
What’s your current obsession?
My current obsessions are puppies, lip stain and interior designing! I just bought my own place so I’m obsessed with decorating it and making it my own. I’m also in the middle of buying a puppy so I’m researching all sorts of dog breeds. I also love all the fun summer lip stain and lipstick colours that are out so I would say those are definitely my current obsessions.
What’s your favourite memory? Or coolest thing you’ve ever done?
Machu Picchu is definitely one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done! For me hiking 20 hours up a mountain where the steps were half my size was a huge accomplishment. We started the journey at 2am and got into our buses at the crack of dawn. When you're hiking in the mountains you go through every type of weather condition. When we were at peak we were bundled up because it was freezing. I mean we had on winter hats, gloves, and layered clothes. Then the sun came out and it was H-O-T! There was no shade so the sun was beaming on us. So while you’re climbing up this mountain you're stripping down into your shorts and a tank top, and then it changes once again and gets cold again and rains. It was also terrifying because you were 8,000 feet above the ground and all you see is the tops of trees and clouds. Then at 7pm we finally got to the sungate which is when you’re able to overlook this thousand and thousands of year old city. It was so rewarding, that is definitely my top travel memory.
Do you have any nicknames?
Ya, I have a lot but my closest friends call me Dee and at the office I go by Lupita which is thanks to Justin. A little while ago Justin was looking into hotels in Mexico and there was a hotel called Lupita by RIU and he said, “what if i call you Lupita?” and I was like no, but it just stuck. So at the office I usually get called Lupita or Dee. I used to have way more but I’ve grown out of most of them at this point.
What’s your favourite thing to get for lunch?
Healthy Noodle Bowls! Freshii’s is a good place to get one with the brown rice and meat but sushi is always my go to if I need to grab lunch.
On your days off where can we find you?
Hanging out with my friends and enjoying the outdoors. I don’t like to stay in and I’m always active so I’ll do things in the city like food festivals, restaurants, exploring, hanging out on a patio or even walking my dog.