In my position as Senior Director of National Retail Sales and Client Services, I have had a unique opportunity to travel the world sourcing new decorations, developing client programs, and managing our factories/vendors from NYC to Southeast Asia. It has been a life changing experience I cannot put a price tag on.
In 2002, I started at American Christmas working in production. Throughout the past 11 years, I have had the opportunity to be an active member of each department, learning every day about the business and industry. In 2009, I was given the chance to work with our factories overseas; I immediately fell in love with that aspect of the job and the responsibilities that came with it. During the past 5 years, I have traveled to eight countries and over twenty major cities around the United States.
I have learned more about the Christmas industry than I could have ever imagined and my learning does not stop just on a business level. Each trip I take becomes a personal learning experience. Traveling is now an educational pursuit where I learn about new cultures and learn more about life. I never take any trip for granted and I always strive to get the most out of each trip both for my own benefit and American Christmas.
Sometimes these trips are taken alone and other times with a colleague or colleagues, but that does not stop me from remembering why I am there. I never forget I am representing American Christmas wherever I go along with its 51 full time and 125 seasonal employees.
As I look back over the last 5 years, there is one trip that stands out as “the all-time best.” In 2011, I traveled on a three week trip to Hong Kong, Mainland China, Thailand and Vietnam. The trip started out in Hong Kong and Mainland China. This is usually our starting point for many trips and then Thailand and Vietnam were next. These countries were beautiful in their own ways and the food was delicious. On the last day of the trip I remember feeling such a sense of accomplishment as I had done something new for myself and most importantly, ACI. To think how I could open up doors through travel and expanding ACI’s network is humbling.
It is currently that time of year again, when we are on the road, sourcing out new factories, developing and upholding our partnerships with existing factories (our friends). There is a lot of hard work ahead of us to ensure we have another successful year. The travel schedule will continue to grow and I will continue to work hard. As I begin to plan my next trip, I still get excited at the thought of getting back on the road again. It will never get old. It has become who I am at American Christmas.