Women in Business
Claudia Menezes was introduced to the travel industry by her mother when she was a young girl. “At 15, I started working as a tour guide on the weekends, and also took some side jobs as an events concierge. My first full time job was for an airline and, after that, I opened my first tour company in Brazil. By that point, I was totally immersed in the industry.”
Many things about the industry have inspired her, but she cites specific aspects of the job that really excite her. “Tourism is an industry that generates millions of jobs, while promoting peace, preserving traditions and building bridges between countries. It brings joy to both leisure and business travelers,” she said.
She has admired many colleagues along the way, but it’s her mother that always “was my biggest mentor and life example. She went to college and graduated at the age of 45, which was against the odds because, at that time, this was not meant for women of that age.
When Menezes was just starting out, she learned a lesson that still affects her today: I was 22 and had sold 25 passengers on my first escorted tour to London. As soon as we arrived at the hotel, I realized I couldn’t find where breakfast was being served. I decided to ask the concierge who informed me in a polite British way: ‘All the information is in the papers we gave you at check in.’
“From that day, I began reading every piece of information that came my way. I don’t do anything without fully reading instructions. This is especially important in our industry, as rules change often,” she said.
Menezes has a strong work ethic that defies gender roles: “Forget about gender limitation. Stick to your values, respect your team and customers, be kind, work hard and have fun. Money and prosperity will be a nice result of this formula.