2015 Tourism Professional of the Year: Georgia Strickfaden
What was your first job in the hospitality industry?
I would count camp counseling, starting in high school, as my first job leading to eventually starting a guided tour service as we were accountable for not just leading, but planning activities-with-a-purpose. Shirley Davies, the first camp director I worked under told us that she didn't want to see us without kids with us. I was an education major, so "service" is the name of the game. I taught in public school schools for three years in Colorado & Arizona before moving back to Los Alamos (my hometown) to get married, where I worked for Los Alamos National Laboratory as a part-time Public Liaison, from which I spun myself off to start my own tour business.
Who has helped/mentored you through your career?
While at LANL, Joe Maestas, a personnel representative (now HR), showed us guides what to tell prospective employees, and we could expand out of our experience. Joe wanted people to get a better feel for the area before signing on--most people at LANL are hired from out of the area.
What has been the highlight of your career?
The highlight for me was starting and sustaining my own tour service, complete with using company owned vehicles--no small task for a shy, retiring sort.
What is one thing you would tell young people entering the hospitality business?
Young folks, or anyone, entering the tour guiding service should respect new comers/visitors--be of service, but not be afraid to share your knowledge, as that is why they hired a guide!
What are your favorite places to visit in New Mexico?
Anywhere in New Mexico is my favorite. Every single place has its strengths, people (though sparse in some places); people love our scenery and uniqueness and variety.
If you weren’t in the hospitality business, what would you be doing?
I've been in hospitality business for so long that if/when I retire, I'll probably still be "telling people where to go" (my husband's favorite saying).
Nominations NOW OPEN!
KNOW SOMEONE LIKE GEORGIA? Got an employee you want to brag about?