Our first speaker today was Juli Parrott of Table Mountain Travel in Lakewood, Colorado. Juli wanted to talk to our new members about her history and how she became a travel agent. Juli grew up in Wisconsin and once out of high school she went on to college to become a French teacher, majoring in French. After college she and a friend spent six months in Paris and upon coming back to the states both were unable to find a job in Wisconsin, so they both thought it would be fun to move to California and get a job there. Once in California they discovered at the time that it was equally as hard to find a teaching job in California and her roommate went to Colorado for a vacation with her boyfriend and ended up getting a job with a travel agency and invited Juli to move to Colorado with them. She figured that wasn’t a bad idea and moved to the Denver area. Once in Denver she got a job with a travel agency and started travel school – while working with Tiller Travel the owner’s wife asked her to play soccer on a women’s soccer league – a love that she stills plays today. She worked with Tiller Travel for 6 months and was paid 500.00 a month, so when offered 600.00 a month by another agency she moved on. The new agency offered more challenges – as the manager went on vacation and never came back – leaving 3 relatively young and inexperienced agents behind to handle all ticketing and travel arrangements. They all learned by the seat of their pants how to deal with ticketing and a wide variety of arrangements; it was a crazy time for that office! Juli’s plan at this time was a five year plan – work the travel industry travel all eight continents and get her Spanish degree and return to the world of teaching. Well, it has been a few more years than that, Juli went into business with a partner around 10 years ago with Table Mountain Travel – after 2 years her partner retired – and she has visited 7 of those 8 continents (the only one left is Antarctica, something she isn’t really looking forward to!) This January, Table Mountain Travel, became an independent contractor working with Polk Majestic Travel in Denver – this has enabled them to work through the international travel guidelines easier and they are now paperless. Although there are still some invoicing issues that can be frustrating, working with Polk has had a very positive effect on Juli’s business. Whether you need a ticket to Spokane, Washington or an around the world adventure Table Mountain Travel can do it all!! Call Juli for your next adventure and she will get you there and back!!
Today’s second speaker was Denise Wing of Academy National Mortgage in Golden, Colorado. Denise also wanted to speak to our new members and to the rest of us who only know her as our mortgage broker. Denise has been in the mortgage and lending industry for 30 years and has been the owner of Academy National Mortgage for 17 years, wanting to provide financing for purchasing and re-financing homes. After dealing with many closing companies, she, then started her own closing company – Closing Concepts to provide closing documents and document preparation for mortgages. After running both companies for 2 years Denise hired her oldest daughter Roni to run Closing Concepts, Inc. The businesses ran this way for five years at which point Denise turned over total control of Closing Concepts to Roni and they have both been running independent ever since. Denise wanted to remind us that Academy National Mortgage is what she does – but not who she is. Last weekend Denise attended the funeral of the mother of her junior high school best friend – this was a woman who was Denise’s second mother while she was growing up and she spent a lot of time at their house. The funeral was very nice and included reflections from her son and grandson about the true woman that she was. This made Denise start to think how it is so easy to get wrapped up in her work and let that define who she is. The fact is that Academy National Mortgage is only what she does to make a living – so today she wanted to tell us who Denise is. Denise is the daughter of two wonderful parents – her father was an over the road truck driver until about four years ago and her mother was the family care taker and care giver until dementia and Alzheimer’s have reversed the roles for her parents. So now Denise along with her siblings are helping her father work through the issues that have become necessary to admit her mother into a nursing home. Denise is the sister to two older sisters and one younger brother – who is very involved in the family activities of her nieces and nephews. Denise is the wife and partner to her high school sweetheart, for 39 years, they eloped by the way – leaving notes on their dressers in their bedrooms – just so no one would worry, although not everyone was happy!! Denise is now the mother of two wonderful, energetic daughters and the mother in law to the two best son-in-laws in the world! She is the grandmother to four wonderful grandchildren that are the ages 6 through 14 and has the benefit of being able to be at all of their school events, athletic endeavors and music recitals. Along with helping build homes and refinishing basements, Denise and her husband Ron are very involved with their daughter’s family’s lives. A few years ago they embarked on a family project and did a fix and flip house that involved everyone one in the family – from Denise’s mom and dad to all of the grandchildren – then they all reaped in the benefits. They have built all but one of their 4 homes that they have owned and the one that they didn’t build they totally remodeled to their idea of a home. Denise and her husband work hard to make memories with each of their grandchildren, taking time out to go on vacations with each grandchild to the place of the child’s choice each year. Denise also took care of her first grandson for the first year of his life. Her daughter would drop him off at Denise’s office around three everyday then to pick him up from the house around ten. Denise really enjoyed this time getting to – not only help out her daughter – but also getting to spend the time with her first grandchild. When one of her daughters announced she was getting married and wanted to have the ceremony at Denise and Ron’s home – of ‘course the answer was yes – the only major fact was that they had just ripped out their backyard (the scene of the wedding) to put in a pool and an expansive rock garden. With four months left before the nuptials they pulled all of the family together they finished with two days left to get everything ready for the 100+ guests and a wedding. Denise’s home is the center of family dinners and holiday get togethers usually involving between 20-40 people at Thanksgiving. It has become the family tradition to have these special occasions at Denise and Ron’s home. Christmas is also a very special time when Denise gets to go overboard on all the decorations (which are spectacular!!) that she puts up every year with the help of one of her grandsons. Denise loves to swim and tries to do laps in the pool every night after work when the pool is open and in fact just a few weeks ago she became a certified scuba diver. She is very excited for her next trip to the Caribbean! Another of Denise’s favorite things is to bake – although she doesn’t do it that often because she also enjoys eating everything she bakes! She has found out that she can be very impatient and likes to be in control of things around her. Most of all Denise hopes that she creates and has enough good memories with her children and grandchildren so that when she passes on that they will know her for who she was and not what she did for work. A very important message for all of us – keep in mind that our businesses may get us to want, but not what we need!