KHM Travel Agent Spotlight: Cleopatra Islar
Written by: Amanda Bailey on December 03, 2015
As Cleopatra Islar will tell you, the best way to learn about the world is not through textbooks. Or online training. It’s by living it in, and learning as much from your experiences as possible!
Cleopatra has lived on multiple continents, which has also allowed her to travel extensively. She grew up in tropical Guyana, in the northern part of South America. However, she longed to see more of the world, and experience a more diverse climate.
After completing stenographer training, she landed a job in Zambia. After 10 years, she moved to Côte d’Ivoire to work with The United States Agency for International Development and The African Development Bank. She then was hired by The World Bank Group, and moved to the United States.
“I had traveled extensively and had learned other cultures and languages,” says Cleopatra. “On a daily basis, I worked with clients in several corners of the globe. In some cases, when my work day was beginning, theirs was about to end.”
When she retired in 2009, she decided to share her global perspective in a book, which she entitled, My Odyssey from Guyana to America – via Africa.
It was with this understanding of and appreciation for globetrotting that she started her travel agency, C&G Global Connections Travel in 2011. Even with so many destinations under her belt, she came across the same challenges that almost all new agents face: how to get the word out about her new travel business, and how to decide which product and supplier was best for her client.
Time and training gave her the knowledge and assurance to overcome both of these hurdles. Eventually, she says, she became confident enough to strike up a conversation about her business in unlikely places, like the check-out line at the grocery store.
“One of my first bookings resulted from a brief chat in the check-out line,” says Cleopatra. “Over time, I learned when it was appropriate to start a conversation and when it was not.”
She reinforced her travel knowledge by attending more webinars and conferences, including Destination Success at our home office in 2012. Whether you are a new or old agent, the experience and information gained at Destination is priceless, according to Cleopatra.
“As soon as I left the training, I was given the opportunity to book 40 guests for a wedding in Montego Bay. If I did not have this knowledge, I don’t think that I would have been able to manage this booking the way I did.”
For Cleopatra, the best part of her job is being able to share her love of travel with others and open up her clients’ eyes to a new world of possibilities. It’s especially rewarding for her to hear stories from first-time cruisers – or from those who have traveled outside the U.S. for the first time.
She hasn’t stopped striving to expand her own horizons. She goes on as many FAM trips as possible, and continues to visit destinations that are unfamiliar to her.
“I feel that clients will feel confident if I am confident about what I am sharing with them. The best way to share information is to know exactly what I am talking about,” Cleopatra says.
Thank you to Cleopatra for sharing her incredible story with us, and inspiring so many others to travel!
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