Valentines Day 2017 Celebrating Industry Couples: Those Dress Whites Drew Kathryn Mazza-Burney To Brian
Who doesn’t love a man in uniform? Kathryn Mazza-Burney sure does, even if her husband Brian traded in his naval threads to work with her in the family business, TRAVELSAVERS. Kathryn is now Executive Vice-President of Sales and Brian, Senior Vice-President of Operations of the 1,800-outlet retail group.
How did you meet? Brian (laughs) Kathryn was in college and I was in the navy, stationed close to her college. The girls often picked up navy guys! Kathryn: My roommate had met him when she was out one night and called me to say you’ve got to come down and meet this guy! Brian: That was in 1988. I was an electrician on submarines.
First impressions? Kathryn: Those dress whites! And he was extremely handsome. An all-round good guy and we had a lot in common. We still do! Opposites attract, they say – he’s extremely quiet and I’m not. So we work well together. Brian: First impressions, beyond the 1980s hair? Gorgeous. And a lot of fun. Having fun is what life is all about.
Do you remember your first date? Kathryn: They were commissioning a submarine and there was a big party. I drove up there to connect with Brian, but my parents wouldn’t let me go alone so they came along (my dad would have been quite happy sitting in the back seat during the date itself!) Brian: It was a big ball, a dressy party. Kathryn: My parents could see why I could fall in love with a guy in dress whites!
When did you get married?Kathryn: September 9,1995. Brian: It was a big wedding, over 200 people.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?Kathryn: To Hawaii, two weeks in Maui and Kona. Brian: It was fantastic, I’d go back in a second, Hawaii is amazing.
How did you end up working together?Brian: when I got out of the navy I moved back to Illinois with my parents but eventually to New York so I could be near Kathryn. Kathryn: He stared in the mailroom at TRAVELSAVERS to put himself through college and has now been with the company 25 years. I’ve been with the company full-time for 24 years now.
What’s the most romantic destination you’ve travelled to?Kathryn: We’ve been to a lot…Paris, Tahiti, and Hawaii’s not so bad! Whenever we travel together we try to find a few days for just the two of us. We’re planning a trip like that to Venice in a couple of months.
Do you recommend marrying someone who works in the same industry as you do?Brian (laughs): I do, because of the experiences that we’ve had. I could see it could be very difficult spending that much time around someone, but we are in different divisions so we don’t spend all the time together.
What are the pros?Kathryn: It’s nice to speak to my partner who completely understands the business. It affords us the same opportunities to travel and take our children, Kaelyn, almost17 and Nicholas, now 13. They’ve travelled more than most people do in a lifetime!
And the cons?Brian: It’s our lives. It’s a small con. We communicate a lot during the day. Kathryn: It’s always with you, as much as you want to escape it at home. We want to set boundaries but it can be hard to stick to them. Sometimes our children remind us, “Really, can we talk about something other than TRAVELSAVERS?”
What do you think is the secret to a happy marriage?Kathryn: Communication. Trust. Focus – don’t lose sight of what’s important in life, it’s family first. Brian: Respect. Fun.
How will you be spending Valentine’s Day this year?Kathryn: Oooh Brian, do you have a big surprise planned for me? (laughs) We’re lucky to have big romantic dinners often. So we’ll do like we do every year and take the kids out for a nice meal. And we’re taking them to Cancun soon too!