Sheralyn Berry, President, Contiki

Open Jaw

Where were you born? In Kamloops, BC. Desert country! 

How long have you been in the business? Since 1999 – good God! – working as marketing coordinator at Travel CUTS. Boy, oh boy has the industry changed! I’ve been with Contiki for almost nine years now, and in my new role since May.

How many people work for you? We have about 20, and share some personnel with other brands at the Travel Corporation (Insight, Trafalgar, Uniworld and more).

What’s the best part of the job? Working with this young dynamic team. They are so innovative, full of energy. We definitely are an office that bounces a lot of ideas off one another! We are now even looking at Gen Z, who are 14-22 years old, planting seeds. Our target group is officially 18-35, but the sweet spot is 24-30 and average age is 26.  

What did you want to be as a kid? I think I wanted to be a nurse, but it changed on a yearly basis!

What was your first ever job? Working at A&W. I still love their burgers today.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Move to Toronto. I love Vancouver, I love beautiful BC.  

Any guilty pleasures? Netflix. Ozarks, very dark, I love Jason Bateman.

What’s your favourite airline? Air Canada, through and through.  

Favourite hotel chain? Fairmont.

What’s on your tablet? Netflix, of course. The Vancouver Province newspaper, CNN, Instagram and Facebook.

What do people not know about you? So much! One thing, I’m actually a farm girl. I grew up on a ranch with horses, goats and pigs.   

Any hobbies or interests?  The outdoors.  Hiking, biking, snow-shoeing, skiing -- anything.

When are you happiest? On the Vancouver Sea Wall.

What would you tell your 20 year old self? “Don’t worry about the small stuff. Just live life every day, take risks, fall down. It’ll all be fine.”

Who do you most admire in the industry? Jeff Element, president of the Travel Corporation Canada, who juggles various brands and keeps 200 plus employees engaged and happy to be here.

What skill or talent do you admire in someone? The ability to be articulate in written and verbal communications. That’s very difficult today.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? Botswana and Namibia.  

Ever had a brush with fame? I’ve sat next to Pierce Brosnan on an AC flight to LA.  Mr. 007 himself!

What keeps you awake at night? Everything! The future of the company and making sure Contiki remains the leader in the millennial space.  

How do you spend your frequent flyer points? On other flights!

What is your greatest extravagance? 
Shoes, maybe? But I’m not extravagant or acquisitive and am averse to having too much “stuff.”

How do you stay fit when you travel? I walk a lot and watch what I’m eating. Which is a challenge when you are on the road!

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be? Everyone needs to be open-minded about change. Travel is changing by the minute, and it’s actually an exciting time.

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

What kind of car do you drive? I just bought a Mazda CX5. 

Do you have a favourite charity? The David Sheldrick Foundation in Nairobi which rescues orphan baby elephants and rhinos.

What will be the biggest challenge for the industry in the next 12 months? Consumers are becoming very price-savvy and price-conscious. But we mustn’t discount. Stand behind your brand. Stand behind your product.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years? Oh my! Still working for the Travel Corporation -- not sure what brand -- but within the industry.   

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