Global Summit in Florida

TLS Global Servicing Leaders

Group Shot of the TLS Senior Leadership Team & Market Heads

This week I was in Florida planning and hosting a Global Market Head Summit for the Travel & Lifestyle Services (TLS) Division of American Express. I had 28 colleagues from across the globe come together to speak about best practices and leadership about the global servicing for TLS.

The 3 day summit was one of my first big projects I have taken on as Manager of Strategy & Business Planning aka Chief of Staff of the entire global organization AND the first time a global event like this had been held. In fact, many of the team had not met one another in person, which added to the impact and influence this event could bring. This conference was very high stakes and high pressure as it overlapped and followed the senior leadership team conference of my company - however I thrive in pressure and was up for the challenge!

Menu from our joint team dinner I planned at Shooters!

The Summit was a lot of work, but it was worth it and we managed to accomplish and learn a lot from one another. It was great to meet everyone and eye opening for the team to have a true global perspective in person.

While I can’t say what we discussed some global takeaways I would like to share for global teams:

  • Meeting in person vs online can really unite a team

  • What may work in one country may differ in another, keeping a global perspective is key

  • You are not alone, a challenge you have may be shared globally

After many late nights and hours, I am happy to say the event was a success! A 9.3/10 according to my survey, I’ll take it for my first global event! If anyone needs an event planner, let me know!

Sunset in Sunrise, Florida - Not a bad way to end my time in Florida!

Sunset in Sunrise, Florida - Not a bad way to end my time in Florida!

Toronto in July

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Earlier this week, I traveled to Toronto, Canada on my first work trip... ever!  It was a great experience and I learned a lot about my new team, Travel & Lifestyle Services (TLS).  I had not been to Toronto since the North American Debate Championships (Northams) in January 2010 at York University.

My boss and I were only there for 1.5 days, so needless to say it as pretty jam packed with meetings during this market visit.  However, I was able to find some time to catch up with one of my MBA grad school friends who recently started working for AMEX in Canada!

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During my stay, I stayed at the Shangri-La Toronto, a very swanky 5-star hotel chain with a gorgeous pool.  The room was so spacious, bathroom alone could have been a small studio apartment in NYC, which included a hot tub and TV built into the mirror.  The hotel concierge even left me a nice handwritten note and left me pound cake loaf to welcome me to the hotel.  I would definitely love to stay there again, can I afford it is the question!

 “Big Ass Steak” at Baro in Toronto

 “Big Ass Steak” at Baro in Toronto

After Day 1, all of the managers+ went to a team dinner at Baro, a delicious Mexican restaurant in downtown Toronto.  The food here was DELICIOUS and the menu had some great names of dishes.  My favorite dishes on the menu were the steak and the the tacos, but the most amusing dish names were "Big Ass Steak" and “Eat Like Jefe!” 

CN Tower

CN Tower

On the way back to the hotel from Baro, we had a great view of one of Toronto's most popular attractions, the CN tower.  For those of you who know me know I had to stop and take a photo. My new boss surprisingly followed suit and took a photo on Snapchat to send to his children.

The next day was filled with back to back meetings starting at 8:30 AM to 4 PM, which I then headed to the airport for my flight - delayed about 5 hours...  However, on my flight home, I sat next to someone who taught me a bit about meditation and turned about to be a new friend!

Can't wait for my next trip!

My First Work Trip!

New Role, New Team & New Country!

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On my first day in my new role in Travel & Lifestyle Services (TLS), I was able to take a business trip to Toronto, Ontario for a site visit with my new boss.  (Do not worry I did not relocate to Canada)  I would be lying if I said I was not a bit intimidated to be travelling with my boss my first few days on the job - what would I talk to him about, would we get along or would I do something silly or embarrassing in front of him?  Thankfully all of these concerns were mostly in my head as I think I hopefully made a good impression.

The trip was very quick as we had landed on Monday afternoon, around 2:30 PM, due to delays, and left by end of day on Tuesday, less than 48 hours later.  However, even in this short period of time I was able to learn a lot.  I was able to:

  1. See how senior leaders at my company thing
  2. Listen to a call into the call center from the view of a Travel & Lifestyle consultant
  3. Hear the mindsets of what is and is not working and how senior leaders viewed these matters
  4. View the company from an international perspective
Team Dinner at Baro in Toronto, Canada

Team Dinner at Baro in Toronto, Canada

As part of TLS, the team creates, fosters and manages the relationships with some of the most high end hotels, including the Shangri-La hotel where I had the pleasure of staying and Baco where had dinner on Monday night.  While we were at dinner, we learned it was the regional VP’s birthday, so of course we had to celebrate while we were there!

Sadly, while I did not have any time to explore, but I did get a much better understanding of my new team, TLS.  I excited for my new role and what the future may hold!

Check out my next post for a lifestyle focus on my trip to Toronto and stay tuned for more of my travel adventures! (Hopefully)

 

End of a chapter...

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Today marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next as I finish my first role at AMEX today! 🎉 

Thank you to everyone for coming out to celebrate my PROMOTION with me and supported me in this role and in getting the next. I super excited to start my new role, but am going to miss you all! 💕

For the past few years, I have been working in the Corporate Planning & Analysis team, supporting the core function teams, such as Marketing, HR, Legal, Aviation and Audit from a FP&A budgeting and forecasting perspective, in a nutshell. I have learned a lot over the past few years and am excited to start my second role at AMEX with a PROMOTION in Travel & Lifestyle Services as a Manager of Strategy and Business Planning! 

 

 

 

Farewell Ken Chenault

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Today marks the end of an era at American Express as our CEO Ken Chenault passes the torch to Steve Squeri on his final day at the company.  

I have been working at AMEX since June of 2015 and it by far has one of the best work cultures and work/life balance. I think this goes to show what great leadership Ken has, can’t wait to see what changes Steve will make.

I had the pleasure of speaking with him today, his last day at the company. Ken was very down to earth and really eager to meet everyone and even take some photos - it was actually rather humbling. 

One thing that really resonated with me, is Ken’s ambition and drive. In a conversation yesterday, he discussed his future plans not only in the digital world, but to give back the community.  Can I please be as swagger as Ken? (He said that word quite a lot yesterday).  However, he did say as much as he loves AMEX he had missed out on opportunities to spend time with friends and loved ones. My advice to you, which I am sure Ken will agree with is seize every opportunity and spend time with those that you love. 

My biggest takeaway on a personal level, Short people and events who are a waste of time (Silly finance reference made my Ken yesterday)  

Ken has truely made an impact at the company, in the black community and the globe. 

Wishing Ken the best of luck in the next chapter of his life, you are going to do great things!