Kathryn Mazza-Burney, Executive Vice President, Travelsavers, Oyster Bay, NY

Open Jaw

Where were you born?  Brooklyn, New York.

How long have you been in the business?  26 years.

How many people work for you?  I have 125+ team members – there are 1800 Travelsaver affiliates in the States and 250 in Canada.

What’s the best part of the job?   Getting out into the field with my team visiting our affiliates.

What did you want to be as a kid? A social worker- but my parents weren’t that keen. They were afraid I would bring my clients in need home with me each night!  

What was your 1st ever job? (laughs)  Unofficially? Stamping brochures at my father’s travel agency at the age of 10. Officially, I began in our cruise division right out of college.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Bungee jumping in Jamaica - and I will never do it again. 

Any guilty pleasures? Fine wine (I particularly like Tignanello) and chocolate.

What’s your favourite airline? Delta. It’s our preferred carrier.

Favourite hotel chain? Ritz Carlton.

What’s on your tablet? I’m embarrassed to say but I’m a One Direction and Justin Bieber fan!

What do people not know about you? I’m a huge sports fan – the New York Mets and New York Giants.

Any hobbies or interests? I love to downhill ski - we have a house in Mont Tremblant.

When were you happiest? February 16, 2000 and April 30, 2003: the birth of my daughter Kaelyn and son Nicholas.

What skill or talent do you admire in someone? The ability to speak in public. I do it often but it still makes me nervous.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? River cruise on the Mekong. I’m fortunate enough to be doing it in September.

Ever had a brush with fame? I’ve have quite a few over the years, but meeting Barbara Bush in passing at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto was quitespecial!

What keeps you awake at night? My teenage daughter. The drama!

How do you spend your frequent flyer points? Travelling with my husband and kids.

What is your greatest extravagance?  My massive shoe collection. The most I’ve spent on a pair? $900. I was the Godmother of the Viking Baldur and figured I’d need “royal” shoes.  They are, I have to say, FABULOUS.

How do you stay fit when you travel? I never travel without my workout clothes and I hit the gym as often as possible.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? Consumer perception on the relevancy of a travel professional.

If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be? Richard Branson – I think  he is brilliant.

Do you have a favourite charity? Autism Speaks. It’s a cause near and dear to my heart.

What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months? World events that have a negative impact on consumers’ decisions to travel.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? Hopefully continuing to make a difference in the day-to-day business of independent retail travel professionals.

(will not be published)