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Experience + Travel = 10x

Stacy Eads on March 09, 2018

Experience + Travel = 10x
Recently, members of the Levant Technologies team were able to attend an exclusive event held by the Young Professionals of Tulsa. This event showcased world-renowned published author Lee Cockerell; you may know Mr. Cockerell as the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World Resort. He retired in 2006, and now dedicates his time to public speaking, authoring multiple books on leadership, customer service, and much more. Feel free to check out his audio book series to learn more!

While speaking to the roomful of young Oklahoma leaders, Mr. Cockerell said, "Experience and travel will make you ten times better." And I agree! Experience is a tricky one, as it sometimes simply comes with time, age, and your career's path as you go on your journey. However, travel is something most folks think of as a personal or family-based experience that's separate from work. I enjoyed his quote because travel is a personal passion of mine, so I began to think of experience and travel as a conjoined unit.

As CEO of a Norman-based Oklahoma marketing firm with our hands in everything from web design to mobile apps and consumer branding on social media, I don't often travel for work. Those jet-setting C-suite executives in business suits hurrying from one hangar to the next, catching flights and making million-dollar deals just isn't my lot in life.

I'm lucky to have married a man who is just as in love with white sand between his toes as I am. As we discussed what our life would look like after taking our vows, we promised each other that we'd always try to visit at least one U.S. destination and/or one international location we'd never been to each and every year. 

I keep a list there have been so many destinations! Thanks to the magic of Carnival Cruise stops, we've achieved: Aruba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Grand Turk, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Cozumel, Riviera Maya, St. Thomas, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Mexico, Honduras, Belize, Ambergris Caye Island, Playa del Carmen, Cabo. Even if you just travel for sun and fun (or even a nice piña colada on the beach), you can't help but learn while you're there.

One of my favorite stories to tell is how awestruck I was in Aruba. On our second trip, my family got to know a local "cab" driver. To clarify, cabs there weren't the yellow-and-black, NYC bumblebee type. They were more along the lines of an Uber-home vehicle featuring a business card and a huge smile. She helped us learn that citizens of Aruba grow up learning four or five different languages before they even move on from grade school: Dutch, English, French, Spanish, and their native Papiamento. Why? Because they care that much about visitors to their island. I mean, come on, talk about an eye-opener.

Their island customer experience is so important to their economy and livelihood, that they wish for everyone there to learn four or five languages at a very young age so that as they choose their careers, they can always welcome a visitor in his or her native tongue. WOW.

And not all my destinations have come with ocean waves and seashell trinkets. I've also been blessed to take a family trip to Ireland and an Oklahoma City Chamber-coordinated trip to China. No matter where you go in life, succumb to Lee Cockerell's advice, and EXPERIENCE the TRAVEL as a JOURNEY for LEARNING. Grow with each trip. Come back more than you are today. Just listen, look, and learn because opportunity is all around you.

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