Meet Samantha Gehrke, our Sr. Manager of Group Air with Meetings & Incentives Worldwide. With all the complexities and dynamics of air travel, her industry experience and knowledge definitely come into play. She provides leadership to the Group Air team responsible for the booking process, group discounts, flight changes, irregular operations, onsite travel assistance, and ensuring a safe return home for all our customers.
Between her busy booking schedule, I had the opportunity to catch up with Samantha. I gained some interesting insight into her purpose, what drives her to perform at her best every day, and what she is excited about in the future.
Q. What is your “WHY” behind what you do?
I’ve always had a strong passion for air travel. In today’s industry, air travel is ever-changing, and I love helping others work through travel scenarios that can be daunting and somewhat challenging. It is very rewarding to put people at ease and let them know they are in good hands. At M&IW, we believe each attendee’s experience begins from the moment they first contact our air specialists to confirm their travel until they land safely home on their return. It’s my job to ensure a positive program experience from beginning to end!
Q. What do you value most about M&IW?
There are so many great aspects of M&IW, if I had to pick just one, it would be our company culture. Even though I have hundreds of coworkers working across the globe, there is always a sense of connection. Jean and Tina, our Co-CEOs, lead by example by staying true to their family roots and reinforcing the care we have for each other. It starts all the way at the top and carries throughout the organization.
Q. Tell us about a huge win you’ve had recently.
Service is incredibly important to us. We recently made an investment and transitioned from a traditional desk phone to a “softphone” which is accessible via a laptop. This innovation allows our Group Travel Team to participate in our “in-house” phone tree (assist all travelers) no matter where they are located (onsite, working virtually, or when at our corporate headquarters office).
Q. What was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve had?
Working in the airline industry most definitely. I started my career at Midwest Airlines as a Ticketing and Gate Lead. Being on the front lines at the airport, face-to-face with customers and there was never a dull moment. Every day was different. It was a tremendous learning experience and really taught me what it meant to be a service leader and problem solver. The best part was being able to make customers happy!
Q. What is a fun fact that not many know?
I lived in Canada for a few years while I was in high school.
Q. What would you tell yourself at age 13?
What is currently causing your stress now won’t matter in 20 years (and probably not even in 10 days).
Samantha’s love and passion for the travel industry and her clients’ satisfaction is what makes her a tremendous asset to the M&IW team. As we like to stay in the travel industry, we are lucky to have her on board!