with Patricia Marques, Manager, CAA South Central ON

Open Jaw

Where were you born? In Cambridge, Ontario.

How long have you been in the business? For 25 years – my first job was with Preston Tours as a travel agent right in Cambridge.

How many people work for you? I have three small teams, comprising our Extraordinary Explorations department, our own wholesale division; industry relations where I have a product specialist; and also I represent Canada for CAA Vacations where we negotiate benefits for our members for which I have a BDM.

What’s the best part of the job? Working with CAA, it’s not just about travel. I get to be a part of marketing, learn about government and community relations, our insurance department, it’s very interesting!   

What did you want to be as a kid? Indiana Jones (laughs). I was determined to be a history teacher by day and an archaeologist by night. I studied archaeology at university. Then I decided to see the world - and here I am.

What was your first ever job? At a little bookstore called Book Express. I was a total book nerd.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Last year we were rafting in Alaska with four other people and two young Kodiak bears charged our raft. We heard this grunting noise and they charged the beach and stopped short just of the water. We were all completely silent and they turned around and ran back into the woods. Unforgettable.

Any guilty pleasures? Too many to count, but I’d have to say shopping. I love purses. I stopped counting at 20.

What’s your favourite airline? That’s a tough one for someone in industry relations! I’d have to say Air Canada right now because of the 787 Dreamliner. I’m tall and love the roominess and large windows. They also handle turbulence well.

Favourite hotel chain? Fairmont. The history!

What’s on your tablet? A lot of books – I love to read – and music.  I’m really into folk music. My husband is Portuguese so I listen to a lot of Fado.

What do people not know about you? I love baking cakes and sculptural cakes. I recently made one in the shape of a truck for my nephews.

Any hobbies or interests? We spend a lot of our free time travelling and I also love oil painting and photography.

When were you happiest?  This is so corny but... my wedding day. My husband is my Prince Charming and we had a lovely honeymoon in Greece. For our 20th anniversary this year we’re hoping to do an Iceland trip.

What skill or talent do you admire in someone? People who can sing. I think Adele is amazing. Completely enviable.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? The annual Grand Masked Ball in Versailles.

What keeps you awake at night? Hot flashes!  (laughs). It’s true!

How do you spend your frequent flyer points? Cruising, I love cruising.

What is your greatest extravagance? My travel. Because we don’t have kids, we travel three or four times a year.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? I wish people would remember that we have an awesome job, creating dreams, and sometimes we let business get in the way of that. We need to remember that.

If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be?  Adele.

Ever had a brush with fame? My sister is married to the nephew of Kathie Lee Gifford. She’s lovely. Genuinely nice. And funny!

What kind of car do you drive?  A Ford Fusion hybrid.  

Do you have a favourite charity?   Canadian Cancer Society.

What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months? The world as it is. People are nervous travelling and we need to do our best to help them navigate that.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? I’m really lucky because I love my job, so I see myself with CAA but would like to write more about my travels. 

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