Open Jaw Co-Founder Suzanne Christie Retiring

Open Jaw

After 16 years of success with “the travel industry’s biggest mouthpiece,” Open Jaw co-founder Suzanne Christie has announced her retirement, effective today.

Partner and co-founder Nina Slawek has purchased Christie’s shares in the business and will continue to wear several hats on both the business and content sides of the company. Bruce Parkinson will continue in his role of aggregating content for a daily news package, as well as writing original stories and the website’s popular Headliner supplier features.

Renowned commentator Ivanna Gabbalot has suggested she could take over Christie’s role and “fluff it up a bit,” but no official announcement has been made on that front.

Christie and Slawek founded Open Jaw 16 years ago. The pair were colleagues at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, where Christie was District Sales Manager for Ontario.

The pair had decided to employ the fast-emerging power of the Internet to give Canada’s travel agents a source of daily news and information, and travel suppliers a new, high-tech way to communicate with the agents who present their products to consumers.

Despite major changes in the industry over the past 16 years, Open Jaw has maintained its relevance and posted its best-ever financial results in 2016.

After more than 40 years in travel and tourism, Christie says she’s ready to move on to another phase in her life. Suzanne says she’s not exactly sure what that will entail as yet, but she says, “This is so surreal! Creating and operating Open Jaw with Nina has been the most amazing experience. I am going to miss all the laughing and gnashing of teeth over the business’s and life’s issues each day. It’s hard to say goodbye to my dear partner as well as to Bruce and Caroline. We have had such an amazing team. I’ll also miss all of our dear pumpkins and might even miss Ivanna a little bit. I wish Nina and all the folks that contribute to the Jaw continued success.”

For Slawek, Christie’s departure marks the end of nearly 20 years of working closely together on a daily basis. The pair has enjoyed working together and traveling together as well as raising money for charity together – Open Jaw’s WinterBoob raised close to $500,000 in the fight against breast cancer.

“It feels like a time warp,” says Slawek. We started planning Open Jaw 17 years ago and couldn’t wait to launch the 1st Canadian trade website. And overnight we find ourselves at this crossroad. It’s been an incredible experience to build a business based on an idea with a like-minded partner who rowed just as hard as you did. The good news is I have Suzanne’s cell on speed dial.”

Slawek says Open Jaw will continue in its role of providing the Canadian travel industry with the news and information it needs to compete and stay current in a fast-changing marketplace.

“I have lots of exciting plans to build upon the strong foundation that Suzanne and I created. Open Jaw has been successful in building loyalty and a strong following among the Canadian and international travel industry, and it’s my goal to maintain and strengthen relationships with our readers, viewers, listeners and advertisers.”


Tom Moos - January 16, 2017 @ 13:01
Suzanne you have worked tirelessly in the industry and always found a way to keep things fresh and exciting from KLM to Open Jaw. Your contributions and energy will be missed and your contributions will not be forgotten to our wonderful industry which keeps on evolving. Best of success in all that you do with wishes of further health and happiness.
Nina, you and your team I am confident will grow to other levels of success. Never forget the humble beginnings and remember those who brought you where you are today. You too have worked hard to make Open Jaw a very informative piece in the travel industry. Wishing you and your team much continued success. Go from strength to strength.

Peps Lorentzen - January 16, 2017 @ 13:01
Happy retirement Suzanne, all the best.

Tim Morgan - January 16, 2017 @ 12:01
Congratulations, Suzanne! Very excited for you. Enjoy your next chapter!

Patricia Marques - January 16, 2017 @ 08:01
Congratulations on your retirement Suzanne, you will be missed! Wishing you the very best in wherever the next phase of your life takes you!

Brenda Kyllo - January 14, 2017 @ 00:01
Thanks for taking us along on your incredible journey over the last 17 yrs. there has been a lot of laughs and a few tears but you've made a real positive impact on a lot of people's lives. Enjoy whatever great adventures you have planned next and know that there are a whole lot of travel people that wish you the very best and will miss you.

Jill Christie - January 13, 2017 @ 14:01
I remember the early days of you and Nina taking your entrepreneurial courses and finally deciding to move away from a print magazine to an online platform. Watching the two of you take this business from Nina's basement (which I visited often) to the beautiful space you created on Laird and all the incredible things you have achieved along the way has been so much fun! I'm forever thankful for all the odd jobs I had along the way thanks to OpenJaw. Nina, wishing you all the best and I promise to continue calling the office line for a chat every now and then. Mom, congratulations and looking forward to seeing what this next phase has in store for you.

Taylor Christie - January 13, 2017 @ 13:01
Started in Nina's basement back when it took 5 to 10 minutes to load Openjaw's homepage and now this!! I'm so thoroughly impressed by what the two of you and the team at Openjaw have accomplished over the years. From the dotcom bubble and countless industry changes later, you two made such an awesome team. I'm definitely going to miss my Mom on the Jaw, but I'm really excited to see Nina take Openjaw onward and upward! Congratulations Mom, I couldn't be more proud!! and my hats off to you Nina, you managed to work closely with my Mom for 20 years... I'm in awe

Mark Linton - January 13, 2017 @ 11:01
Well I am very happy for you Suzanne! Well deserved now go enjoy this next phase. I highly recommend it!! All the best. Mark

Brian Simpson - January 13, 2017 @ 11:01
Congratulations, Suzanne. This is a serious loss to the industry but I'm confident that Nina will continue your legacy and keep as a premiere source for Travel Industry news in Canada.

Best wishes to you both!

Suri Pillai - January 13, 2017 @ 11:01
Congratulations & enjoy your retirement Suzanne.
All the best, I'm sure we will run into each other in some industry event.

Michael W Palmer - January 13, 2017 @ 10:01
Congrats Suzanne - what an amazing journey you two have created.... I'm sure the next chapter will be another exciting one... Hope to connect and catch-up... Happy New Year......oxx

Chris Robinson - January 13, 2017 @ 10:01
Congratulations Suzanne - I am quite sure that your next phase will be equally as fun and adventuresome as the last and I wish you every have so earned it!

Ethel Hansen Davey - January 13, 2017 @ 10:01
A serious loss to the travel industry. All the best for a happy and travel filled retirement.

Melanie Carter - January 13, 2017 @ 10:01
Congratulations on your retirement Suzanne. It is well deserved but we will miss you. Wishing you much health and happiness.

Jill Wykes - January 13, 2017 @ 09:01
I remember when you were in the concept stage and you came to see me at Sunquest. I thought it was a brilliant idea if you could make it work. Well, you sure did! You were ahead of your time. The Pink theme was perfect and both of you had such fun with it. Congratulations Suzanne on a well-earned retirement and Nina, on your sole proprietorship!

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