After graduating Duke with a BA in Public Policy Studies and Vanderbilt with an MBA, cutting my teeth as assistant to the CEO of a New York Stock Exchange retailer and dirtying my fingernails in the lamp manufacturing business, I stumbled into the travel industry — 10% of global GDP — in 1989 as CEO of venture funded Travelmation. Imagine, an online booking pioneer when online travel was a zero-billion dollar industry. After selling to Rosenbluth (now American Express), PhoCusWright was launched in 1994, pre-Web.
Half lucky and half brilliant, PhoCusWright’s timing was impeccable. We coined “OTA,” embraced digital DNA as THE differentiator and sized the online travel, tourism and hospitality marketplace region by region, sector by sector. Decades after espousing the power of Internet travel, we emerged as the industry’s research authority with a global bevy of renowned, provocative and trusted pundits. Architect of the annually-acclaimed, dream-demographics Phocuswright Conference, I have taken the stage one-on-one with many industry elite; our insights are still relied upon as industry bellwethers.
My vision was achieved: nearly every industry pitch and presentation today contains a slide stamped: “Source: Phocuswright.”
After selling PhoCusWright in 2011 and retiring from an executive role, I embarked on a journey as mentor and serial board director. Haven’t looked back yet. Serving and having served as an independent board director for 25+ private and listed companies on four continents, I continue to inspire turning points and argue my catchphrase, “Strategically correct, not politically correct.”