with Maureen Barnes-Smith, Director of Sales & Marketing Canada, Sandals & Beaches Resorts
Where were you born? In Clarendon, Jamaica.
How long have you been in the business? 22 years – I started with Sandals as an administrative assistant here in Toronto.
How many people work for you? I have a team of 20+ sales and administration roles.
What’s the best part of the job? Dealing with the travel agents and staff every day, making sure that we represent Sandals to the best of our ability.
What did you want to be as a kid? A lawyer. My dad said I was always arguing on someone’s behalf!
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Have a child! Seriously! Scary… and also rewarding. My son is now 10.
Any guilty pleasures? Chocolate.
What’s your favourite airline? Air Canada, because of my points.
What’s on your tablet? Lots of novels – and I really like empowerment books like The Greatness Guide.
What do people not know about you? I’m a fabulous dancer and sing really well! And I’m a bit of a prankster, I’m the joker of the bunch in our family.
Any hobbies or interests? Reading, that’s my favourite thing. And study – I’m a student for life. Right now I’m thinking of going back to school to do my PhD.
When were you happiest? When my son won gold at a public speaking contest in Ontario. Just thinking about it makes me smile from ear to ear. He did a Bible recitation.
What skill or talent do you admire in someone? Basketball players for their skill and stamina. I love LeBron James!
How do you spend your frequent flyer points? On my family; we go to the U.K. on trips with the extended family.
Do you travel a lot? Yes – 2 or 3 times a month.
What is your greatest extravagance? Purses! I love my Michael Kors and I‘ll get a Prada one of these days.
Where was your last holiday? To Jamaica, with my family.
Your favourite resort? For Beaches, the one in Ocho Rios – my son essentially grew up there. And for Sandals it would be Emerald Bay because it’s on its own… so off the beaten track. You can’t help but disconnect.
If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? The low Canadian dollar.
If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be? President Obama.
Do you have a favourite charity? I do a lot with the Sandals Foundation - I am a director with them - and I am still closely involved with my high school back in Jamaica.
What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months? Connecting with home based agents – they are so spread out. And hopefully the Canadian dollar will settle and improve.
What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? Sitting on my verandah somewhere in the Caribbean watching my son, who would be 20, frolicking about. And enjoying spending time with my stepsons’ children.