Meet the Team
The Who's Who of Backstage Travel Podcast
Host of Backstage Travel Podcast
Susan grew up traveling with her family to a host of amazing destinations, which gave her a deep love and respect for different cultures. Once she had children of her own, she wanted to make sure they got to travel the world just like she did.
After coordinating the logistics for a whole lot of vacations for her family, she decided to become a full-time travel agent in 1994. She’s an expert when it comes to booking travel, and with her decades of experience industry, she’s booked every type of trip imaginable.
She’s also certified by leading programs and companies, including Romance Travel Network, Karisma, Sandals, Asta…and the list goes on.
Wherever you want to go, she’ll provide you with personalized recommendations and an individualized itinerary that fits your desires and makes sure you see the best of your dream destination.
If you’re traveling with a group, she’ll help you plan a stress-free itinerary that has something for everyone on your trip. Susan understands the intricacies of booking for groups and families, and she’ll do everything she can to ensure that everyone returns home with a smile.
Susan’s very detail oriented, which helps her book complex itineraries for all types of travelers. She’s brilliant at planning the logistics of trips for her clients and she’s always available to them by phone or email both during the booking process as well as while they’re on their trip.
Susan’s motto is, "Vacations don’t have to be stressful." She knows planning a vacation without guidance can take the fun out of a vacation, which is why she’s ready to help you book a vacation that fits your dreams and goals anywhere in the world!
During Covid-19, Susan and her team started the "Bucket List Travel Podcast"series for her business and what came of it was new business and a new idea! Backstage Travel Podcast!
Be sure to check out: Susan's Travel Services
Host of Backstage Travel Podcast
As an incoming resident to Pederson Hall at Cal Lu, my freshman year face book listed two things I considered interests - 'people' and 'travel'. Of course, I'm referring to the yearbook like program they gave out when you checked in to your college dorm to help identify your neighbors since the actual Facebook would be a few years away. True when I was 18, and still today. People. Travel... and college football.
When I turned 30, I figured out how to turn those interests into a job. Maybe it was inspired by family history or path dependence or legacy - whatever you call it, I felt like it was a rite of passage to work in the airline business. My mother, Joy, was a flight attendant for Braniff in her 20's, retelling stories of seeing the world and making lifelong friends. Her father, my maternal grandfather Roy/Pop, was a pilot for a brand that became Northwest. My paternal grandfather, Joe, built his career at Braniff. He moved from Los Angeles to Kansas City, before settling in Dallas; rising to become a key member of their purchasing team. My Uncle Joe also flew for Braniff and AirCal, later retiring as Captain with American Airlines.
I joined the Global Sales team for American in '14. Working at HDQ was like living in a b-school textbook - data, analysis, relationship management, and everything that came with a mega-merger between American and US Airways. I then decided that a brand-new full-time role for a thriving Fortune 500 wasn't enough on my plate, so I applied to and enrolled at TCU Neeley, taking classes at night and on weekends. My time at American also brought me back to SoCal, where I grew up. Unique to working at an airline is the ability to fly standby or 'nonrev' all over the world. Instead of heading off to Europe or Asia or South America, every other weekend my bag was packed with boardshorts and flip flops, hoping I could find any seat available from DFW to SNA.
You have to jump. It’s a metaphor that refers to skydiving meant to inspire leaps of faith. This was the mantra encouraged by my father, Jim, that led me back to Orange County at the end of '17. I left my role at American, completed the MBA at TCU, and headed west, to California. After a sabbatical, in which I took some acting and voiceover classes for fun, I made my relocation permanent. In '19, I began with Classic Vacations, where I look forward to growing a career at Expedia, the world's travel platform; eager to make a few memories and visit faraway places with friends along the way. Recently, I’ve also held positions with The Irvine Company, in their Resort Properties division; as well as Hotelbeds as part of the west coast retail sales team for Bedsonline. Before starting in the travel industry, I was on the staff for The Eugene McDermott Scholars Program at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). While at UTD, I graduated with an MPA, Pi Alpha Alpha, in 2014.
In my free time, I enjoy supporting my high school alma mater, St. Margaret’s, as a member of the Tartan Alumni Council; and am also involved with Tomorrow’s Leaders, a young professionals organization raising funds and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis (CF). In 2019, I participated in OC’s Finest, a fundraising challenge for CF, and currently volunteer on the planning committee for the 2020/2021 event. Some of my hobbies also include running, hiking, yoga, and spin classes. I finished the LA Marathon in March ‘20. Other than travel, sports is my love language. My favorite travel destination so far has been Cape Town, South Africa, where I studied abroad in the summer of ‘16. I got engaged on Thanksgiving Day in ‘19 to my best friend, Tori, and we look forward to our wedding in December ’20.
You can follow me on Instagram - @coltjames10. Thanks for checking out our podcast!