with Shannon Cunningham, Agency Sales Manager, WestJet & WestJet Vacations

Open Jaw

Where were you born? In Regina, Saskatchewan.

How long have you been in the business? For 30 years. I started as a travel counsellor with Marlin Travel in Regina.  I’ve been with WestJet 10 years now, starting as a product manager.

How many people work for you? I have seven BDMs.

What’s the best part of the job? The passion that my team demonstrates every day when they show up to work. 

What did you want to be as a kid? Julie McCoy (the cruise director on the Love Boat)

What was your first ever job? Cashier at a lumber yard in Regina.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Ziplining in Costa Rica. Scary and exhilarating at the same time!

Any guilty pleasures? Oooooh. (Thinks) Ice cream. And shoes. 

Favourite hotel chain? Not fair! That’s like asking a mother who her favourite child is! 

What’s on your tablet? A lot of music. R&B. Country. Top 40.

What do people not know about you? That I’m actually more of an introvert than an extrovert.

Any hobbies or interests? Anything on the water – boating, paddleboarding. I’m also in a women’s volleyball league and would be happy to play it 24/7! 

When were you happiest? I’m happy any time I’m on the water.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self? “Don’t take yourself so seriously.”

Who do you most admire in the industry? You know what? I’d have to say Jane Clementino, our Director of Agency Sales. Because she’s a fabulous mentor, highly skilled, amazing integrity. Great at follow-through. And she has a high sense of care for her team

What skill or talent do you admire in someone?Musical ability. I got kicked out of the school band in grade six because I couldn’t keep the beat! 

What’s at the top of your bucket list? Hang gliding off Grouse Mountain. 

Ever had a brush with fame?I once met actor Vince Vaughn in Vegas.  

What keeps you awake at night?  The loss of a sense of security in our own backyard.

How do you spend your frequent flyer points?On travel. Love to travel. My last vacation? Jamaica.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? I’d like to see more women in executive positions.

If you could sit next to anyone on a long-haul flight, who would it be? My late Dad. He was a man of such wisdom, always a glass-half-full kind of guy with a great sense of humour.

Do you have a favourite charity? Two: the Cancer Foundation and ME to WE. (Founders) Craig and Marc Keilburger are so inspiring.

What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months? Overcapacity on the ITC side…and fuel costs.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? Moving up the ladder at WestJet, with a good balance of volunteering and giving back in my personal life.  



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