Joanne Lundy is scanning an empty office, having one last look around.
It’s here where Lundy, for several busy years, led Discover the World’s (DTW) Canadian team as Director, overseeing award-winning business strategies for clients from all corners of the travel sector.
For Lundy, it really is one last look around the office – a global sales and marketing war room, so to speak.
The lease for the Mississauga-based space was up and a decision was made to move operations to new quarters – an expected outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic as companies, with more staff working from home, evolve and embrace changes.
But Lundy isn’t just reviewing the inventory of a stripped-down workroom.
In addition to accounting for boxed-up supplies and packed-away files, the sales and marketing maven is tipping her hat to a successful and rewarding career – spanning more than 40 years – in the travel industry while preparing to discover a new world: retirement.
After steering the DTW ship in Canada for 28 years, Lundy has left the building.
What does she think of it all?
“I can’t quite imagine it,” said a lively and radiating Lundy, speaking to PAX last month, virtually, over Zoom, from a barren office where even the Wi-Fi has been disconnected. (Resourcefully, she hot-spotted her phone to connect our call).
“We’re changing offices, we’re busy with clients…it doesn’t feel anywhere close to retirement yet.”
It will soon, though. Last month, it was announced that Lundy, who acquired the licence for Discover the World Canada in 1993, will, in May, pass the torch to Jane Clementino, a well-known travel executive who, previously, served as Global Director of Indirect Sales for WestJet and WestJet Vacations.
It’s a “perfect time” for someone new to take over, said Lundy, and Clementino, with years of industry experience, certainly fits the bill.
Discover the World is for someone with a “good base of experience in different areas of travel,” said Lundy, noting Clementino’s diverse background in the airline, retail, management, distribution and consulting sectors.
“Jane is a very dynamic person with strong leadership skills,” Lundy explained. “She’s seen travel from different aspects.”
Building something big
Lundy, after all, would know best.
Her trust, credibility and reputation for being in-the-know is owed to years of experience and relationship-building in multiple travel industry sectors.
Her career started in Ottawa with tour operator Sun Tours, where she worked her way up to becoming district manager.
Nine years later, Lundy moved to the airline sector, landing at Wardair in the ’80s where she became director of sales for North America.
When Wardair merged with Canadian Airlines in 1989, she worked as general manager of sales in Ontario for three years, before taking on the role of director of corporate sales.
When Lundy joined Discover the World’s network in the early ’90s, it was an opportunity to showcase her talents and build something big.
“I wanted to have a little more control over my destiny and create something that was resilient, with a diversity of clients – we’ve never had all of our eggs in one basket,” Lundy told PAX back in November 2018 when she appeared on the cover of Pax Magazine.
Helping brands succeed
Discover the World has 85 offices in more than 60 countries with upwards of 100 clients that utilize its sales, marketing and business process outsourcing services.
In September 2018, Lundy sold DTW’s Canadian licence to an investor and partner, but stayed on as Director to ensure a smooth transition of the company.
When COVID-19 hit, she decided to stay on a little longer.
Today, Discover the World Canada represents several well-known brands, such as Sata Azores Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Condor, Caesars Entertainment, Loews Hotel Group, Europcar, Expedia TAAP, Bahamas Paradise Cruises and more.
No two contracts are alike, and the DTW team, with multifaceted experience, are the brains behind short and long-term strategies that help international brands gain a foothold in the Canadian marketplace.
“[Brands] come to a company, like ours, because we know the market really, really well and we know where to move a product and get it sold,” Lundy told PAX.
Nothing beats seeing a company meet its full growth potential, and for Lundy, making things happen for brands, after nearly three decades, has been exhilarating.
“We love the fun of bringing a new product into the market which we think is great and then watching it take off,” Lundy told PAX back in 2018. “It’s a huge satisfaction to help create that.”
Sales and service
The common element that has tied projects together, after all of these years, is “sales and service,” Lundy told us.
“You can’t go in and sell something if [a client] has not had good service, or if they can’t rely on you,” she said.
It also helps when team members stick around. Many of the staff at DTW have stayed by Lundy’s side for several years.
“Everybody is of one mind, dedicated to the quality of work and impact it makes,” Lundy said of her colleagues. “We get excited about those sales results. It’s like getting a report card, as in, ‘Yes! We did it!’”
DTW has won many client appreciation awards, which the company is grateful for, but the true “wins,” Lundy said, are when brands “choose us” to develop a strategy.
“We take that responsibility to heart,” she said.
The best lessons in life come the hard way and Lundy will be the first to admit that.
But looking back on it all, the travel pro has relied on one particular mantra throughout her career: love what you do.
“It sounds cliché, but if you really enjoy what you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like work,” she said. “You bring enthusiasm to everything.”
In the world of travel sales and marketing, it also pays to pay attention.
Success in this business is about “listening to clients and knowing them well,” Lundy said, “and bringing them new ideas, whenever you can.”
Maintaining a healthy perspective on business and life, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is important too, she added.
“Sometimes you have to take a deep breath and not be too hard on yourself for all the things you should have done,” she said.
There isn’t a past event, in recent history, that compares to the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to devastate travel and tourism sectors around the world.
But with rising vaccination rates and a proposed framework for easing travel restrictions in Canada, hope is on the horizon.
“I absolutely believe the recovery is starting,” Lundy said. “There’s optimism in the air – even if we can’t put it into action just yet.”
Lundy’s approach, from the outset of the pandemic, has been to roll with the punches and plan ahead as best as possible.
“I really believe you have to keep your eye on the long-term future and what you want it to look like,” she said.
But let's make one thing clear: just because she’s retiring doesn’t make Lundy any less enthusiastic about the biz – her plan, in fact, is to continue to be involved with Discover the World on a part-time project basis.
Of course, she looks forward to enjoying her newfound freedom.
Lundy, already, serves as Honorary Consul for the Consulate of Botswana in Toronto, a volunteer position she was appointed to about three years ago.
With a solid travel background, she plans to take an active role in handling passports and visas while coordinating the return of students over the next few months.
And, of course, she looks forward to travelling – when travel is possible.
The Azores, Madeira, mainland Portugal and Cape Verde are all at the top of her list.
Lundy may even try and learn a new language before takeoff.
And, oh, she hopes to get back to playing piano, too.
Whichever direction she takes in her retirement, Lundy has one message for the universe:
“Bring it on! I’m ready.”
With files from Blake Wolfe.
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