CCRA Appoints Connie Rush of Creative Getaways, LLC as Lehigh Valley Chapter Director
Rush joins CCRA during a period of unprecedented growth in Northeast Pennsylvania, bringing 15 years of travel selling experience and leadership to the travel professionals of the Lehigh Valley.
CCRA announced today the appointment of travel agency owner Connie Rush, of Creative Getaways LLC to the position of Chapter Director for the Lehigh Valley area. Her extensive experience in travel planning focuses on cruising on all of the major brands, as well as all-inclusive resorts and more are the foundation of her agency, where Connie is known for her dedication to customer service and providing value for all of her clients.
Based in Perkasie, Connie will fulfill this leadership role within the organization by mentoring travel professionals in the area, connecting them with the products and services they need to grow their business, and holding events designed to attract new travel pros and suppliers to the CCRA network.
“I can’t wait to use my experience as both a successful travel agency owner and as a mentor to help elevate the travel agencies and professionals in the Lehigh Valley,” says Rush, adding “With such a resurgence in the use of travel professionals in the marketplace, it’s imperative that our local agents have the education, resources, and tools to meet the growing demand.”
Our own Amanda Chait, manager of accreditation and member experience caught up with Connie last week about her new role and the experience she brings to the table.
Q: How did you begin working as a travel agent? How long have you been an agent?
A: I’m in my 15thyear! I’ve always been home-based. I got into the business after deciding to leave retail and was looking for something that was going to be fun, but would still pay the bills. So, I went back to school while I had twin toddlers at home. I would work retail during the day and then at nights I would go to school to receive my Tourism and Travel diploma. Once I received my diploma, I set up my agency.
Q: What attracted you to CCRA and TRUE?
A: I have been with TRUE since 2011. Originally, I came to TRUE because I was with a host agency and it was not a good experience. I knew I didn’t want to go into a brick and mortar agency, so getting my own accreditation was my best option. After attending a few trade shows, and speaking with other agents, I became familiarized with TRUE and it seemed like a great option for my agency and the best fit based on the benefits. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I think it was probably Hema [Khan, CCRA Regional Director] who first convinced me to switch to TRUE!
Q: How did you become a Chapter Director with CCRA?
A: Hema, again! When the Lehigh Valley chapter stopped having consistent meetings, I approached Hema at an event and asked her about the vacancy. And then she immediately got the ball rolling and before I knew it, she and Margie [Jordan, VP of Agency Education] were asking me if I’d like to interview for the position.
Q: Tell me about the agencies you see and work with in the Lehigh Valley?
A: That’s a difficult question, because our membership is very broad, both in types of agencies and in geography. We have everything from home-based agencies to brick-and-mortar agencies. Actually, we have two members who have been in business for over 30 years and previously ran a travel school! A lot of the market is currently untapped, though, and I’m looking forward to marketing and growing the chapter further.
Q: What do you plan to bring to your chapter as a Director?
A: I actually just had a meet and greet a few weeks ago and I made it clear that I’m here for them. So, I handed out a survey and we had a conversation about what they want the chapter to look like. I really want the chapter to be a partnership; I see myself as a facilitator. I’d also love to do some sessions that are focused on networking or retaining clients! There are a lot of things that we can all learn from each other and not every meeting needs to be tied to a specific vendor.
Connie will be holding her next meeting, co-hosted by Collette Vacations, at Perkins on Lehigh Street in Allentown on Monday, May 14that 6:00 PM. Travel professionals interested in attending should visit https://ccra-lv.eventbrite.comfor tickets.
CCRA will also be holding a large regional event at the Sheraton Valley Forge on September 7thcalled PowerSolutions live, which is a gathering of hundreds of travel agencies of all experience levels and travel suppliers interested in learning about new products in the marketplace, connecting with peers, and expanding their industry education. Connie will be featured at the event alongside her Lehigh Valley chapter. For those interested in attending, tickets can be purchased at https://www.ccra.com/powersolutions