With Nicole Bursey, Commercial Director Transat

Open Jaw

Where were you born? In Toronto.

How long have you been in the business? Since 1994, starting as a travel agent in Cambridge Ont., a two-man shop called Galt Travel. I planned it would start me on the path to travel journalism. That part never happened!

How long have you been with Transat? I’ve actually worked for them twice, first for six years in the 90s as a sales rep in Southwest Ontario, then Sales Manager for Atlantic Canada and eventually director of reservations. I left to work for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity and left them to play poker for a living.

Seriously? Yup. I played Texas Hold’em at the casino in Port Perry four days a week and volunteered in the Toronto office of UNICEF three days a week.

Can you make a living playing poker? Well, my biggest win was $38,700. I gave it up because I knew it wouldn’t last forever and a Cruise Ship Centre office offered me a management position.

And now you are the commercial director on the tour operation side. What does that entail? I lead the sales team, make sure our travel agent partners are getting good service from us, get involved in a lot of strategy.

How many people work for you? I have five direct reports, and 22 on my team altogether.

What’s the best part of the job? I really like public speaking at presentations – that’s my favourite part. I have a degree in communications studies and hope I’m using some of what I learned!

What did you want to be as a kid? A game show host, not Vanna but Pat Sajak. My high school guidance counsellor looked at me as though I were nuts.

What was your first ever job? I was a fry girl at McDonalds.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? My word….Give birth? Everything to do with motherhood? My son Max is now 8 and is quite the character.

Any guilty pleasures? I love watching Big Brother and if I can say I still like McDonald’s french fries - dipped in ice cream!

Really? It’s yummy!

Do you have a favourite hotel chain? You know what? I am such an easy traveller that I don’t… wherever there’s a comfy bed and room service with good French onion soup, I’m happy.

What’s on your tablet? Text Twist (a word game), Scrabble and news.

What do people not know about you? Apart from the gambling thing? That I’m quite interested in photography. And I’m a big Harry Potter fan.

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