Employee Ownership Month

TravelStore has "a culture where we challenge each other to grow personally and professionally through education, training, and travel."
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For Employee Ownership Month, as an ESOP company, TravelStore participated in a variety of activities. One such activity was a writing contest, where employee-owners and independent affiliates were given the opportunity to write about what being a part of an employee-owned company meant to them. After careful review, the submission of Client Services Manager Natalie Etcher, a team member of TravelStore's corporate division, won:
 
To me, employee ownership is not just one thing, it is not one feeling, it is not one trait, and certainly not one word. Employee ownership means an array of words that sum up a place we are so blessed and fortunate to call work: TravelStore. In other words, employee ownership embodies TravelStore's excellence, motivation, pride, loyalty, ownership, ethics, encouragement, winning attitude, expertise, resilience, support, honor, and, most importantly, the people.
 
EXCELLENCE. TravelStore's service of excellence is what aids client retention, attracts new customers, all while maintaining vendor relationships and rapport.
 
MOTIVATION. The employee ownership program offers a certain motivation to employees, whether it is answering a phone call on the first ring or simply not wasting supplies foolishly, we are all owners and understand the value of our shares.
 
PRIDEBeing an employee-owner offers a unique sense of pride when working for TravelStore. It is always reassuring when you are at a conference, presenting to a potential client, or simply talking to a vendor, and I explain we are 100 percent employee-owned, the pride and joy when elaborating on what that means is a feeling I never thought was important until I began working for an ESOP company.
 
LOYALTYWhen talking about loyalty, we often discuss client retention. At TravelStore, we cannot lose sight of the loyalty our employees have to our company. A truly impressive tenure of our employees is large testament to our leadership and our comradery as an organization, one I am deeply proud of.
 
OWNERSHIPHaving ownership in a company instills responsibility and accountability to all, one I know is not taken lightly with anyone. Being an owner has also made me feel empowered in everyday decision-making.
 
YEARLY CERTIFICATESomething I know that I truly look forward to are the yearly certificates that show our shares!
 
ETHICSThe ethics and morals TravelStore possess both internally with colleagues and externally with clients and vendors have shaped and added to our distinguished reputation.
 
ENCOURAGEMENT. The encouragement we have for one another is what inspires me every day to better. I am constantly relying on the encouragement and support of my team members to push me forward in my next presentation, client review, or simply answering an email. Everyone's support is what encourages me to do better than the previous task and previous day.
 
OCTOBER. October is the month in which we can all recognize and celebrate employee ownership!
 
WINNER. Every June, when we get our certificates, it is hard to not feel like the biggest winner! The excitement and joy that comes from that piece of paper is what I can only imagine lottery winners feel like!
 
NECESSARYIn a time where everything is done at your fingertips, TravelStore not only has made necessary changes to stay current and relevant but, more importantly, it has reminded travelers how necessary travel advisors are and vital customer service is.
 
EXPERTISE. Similar to excellence, our knowledge and expertise on the overall industry, specific destinations, technology platforms, travel policies, Duty of Care solutions, and more have yielded our relationships both internally and externally, making them undoubtedly solid.
 
RESILIENCE. I have always considered myself to be extremely blessed to be working for TravelStore, especially when we show resilience and pivot in such unprecedented times while caring for the true heroes in this world.
 
SUPPORTIVE. From HR to MIS to Client Services to Leisure to Corporate to IT to Marketing to Accounting to the Board of Directors, no matter the department, the support we give one another internally is the foundation in building a strong employee ownership program.
 
HONOR. Being aware of how important retirement and saving is, I am honored to be one of the many owners of this company and to be given such an amazing opportunity through our ESOP.
 
INVOLVEMENT. TravelStore's involvement with philanthropy and charitable organizations exemplify who and what we stand for. It is not just business and profits driving us, it is how we treat one another in and out of the company that truly make us thrive.
 
PEOPLEThe heart of TravelStore, above everything else, is our people. TravelStore's unique and diverse employees provide the excellence and expertise over competition by gaining necessary loyalty from clients, while supporting and encouraging our internal team members with our resilient involvement.