I’ve long been captivated by the beauty of the polar wilderness and the spirit of the people in these remote frontiers. My 30-plus years in international sales and marketing leadership roles, in a variety of industries, is enhanced by an entrepreneurial spirit and my natural affinity for the great outdoors.
After graduating with a business degree, I left Canada for England, where I spent 5 years co-owning two pubs in London before joining the U.K. arm of multinational brewing company Molson Coors. In the mid-1990s, I returned to Canada as Director, International, heading up the international division responsible for all of Molson’s business outside of North America.
After 10 years at Molson, I gained some guiding chops as the co-owner of a North American outdoor adventure company that specialized in Arctic canoe trips. From there, I joined the senior executive team at The Hive Strategic Marketing, where, as Vice President of Business Development, I led a repositioning exercise for the agency and formed Destination Arctic, a tourism marketing consulting company.
Later, I worked with Maritz (now called Bond Brand Loyalty), a global leader in loyalty marketing, overseeing a large marketing team on a multimillion dollar book of business for Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. In 2004, I became co-owner of one of Canada’s oldest tour operators, Horizon & Co. After 6 years, the US$12-million boutique travel company was sold to Kensington Tours. My strategic marketing and sales track record and strong reputation as an authority in experiential travel led me to several consulting contracts, including that of Chief Experience Officer and Expedition Leader at Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions.
Deeply passionate about the Arctic and the business of experiential travel, I joined Quark Expeditions as Vice President, Sales in 2012. Since I took the reins as President in 2014, the company has continued to grow and innovate, receiving numerous awards for its breakthrough programs and products.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from traveling?
My advice is to travel to both poles! The Arctic and the Antarctic are the last 2 remaining great wildernesses on our planet. Admittedly, I was bitten by the Arctic bug many years ago, and before my first trip to Antarctica, I didn’t think any place on earth could rival my love for the Canadian Arctic. Well, I was wrong! Antarctica is equally spectacular in so many ways. Call me, and I’ll be happy to share my thoughts as to why!
What advice would you give someone traveling to the polar regions?
Experience + emotion = memory! When I travel anywhere, I strive to dial up both the experience and the emotion by getting out of my comfort zone, and the result is both a lifelong memory and a feeling of what I call “maximum aliveness” or “revitalized awareness.” To paraphrase Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound, we become more alive by simply changing our environments, particularly through adventure. In a unique setting where we can no longer count on things as they were, our senses become more finely attuned and our instincts sharpen, a sure ticket to revitalized awareness.