07 JUL 2010: In the second of our series of whimsical interviews, get to know Susan Webb, president of Vox International as she goes One on One with Ilona Kauremszky.

Where was your last trip? Business or pleasure?

The last big trip was to Kenya in March. It was for business. We just got the Kenya Tourist Board account and they had a meeting for all the destination marketing reps who represent Kenya from around the world. We had a quick introduction to the country. So we were able to see Nairobi, Kilamanjaro and did a safari which was unbelievable. A trip to Kenya is life changing. You have a total different perspective on who we are and about life. We went to a Masai Village where they still live like they have for a thousand years. The children are so beautiful.

What’s your favourite airport? What’s the best thing about it?

Dubai. I flew Emirates on my way to Africa and I was so impressed with the airport. The shopping is wonderful and the business class lounge is amazing.

What are your "necessity items" for a long flight?

I always have my laptop, my Ipod and trashy magazines because it’s the only time I get a chance to catch up on the entertainment world.

Where’s home?


What’s your favourite getaway spot?

There are so many. I love travelling within Canada. Royal Hideaway in Playa del Carmen is a favourite. Kenya is high on my list too. My hometown is London, England so I love going back there for theatre and family.

What 3 websites do you visit daily?

I don’t visit the same websites everyday but I get links daily from the Globe and Mail and the trade pubs. I check a lot of the international travel sites as well.

What are you currently reading?

I’m sort of in between books. I just read Super Freakonomics. It’s a very different look at economics - some of it quite bizarre.

Do you have a mentor? Who is it?

Mentor? Lots. Wow. In my early days it was Julian Prins. He gave me my first job in sales at tour operator SkyLark Holidays (no longer in business) and then I worked with him at Esprit Vacations. He gave me a total different perspective on the industry and gave me some amazing skills that I kept with me all these years. He was a marketing guru. He was very creative. He believed in customer service. He gave us the ability to come up with ideas and run with them. We had fun while we did it. He was a true entrepreneur.

My husband Grant Oddleifson. Absolutely supportive and my biggest cheerleader.

Angus Kinnear president of the (now defunct) Canada 3000 for being a great leader. I learned a lot from him. He built a company almost overnight with determination good ideas and the ability to hire and motivate good people.

If you could invite one internationally famous couple dead or alive to join you for dinner who would they be?

Princess Diana and Prince Charles. It would be fascinating to hear about her life, what she did with the various charities and being a part of the Royal Family.

What are you listening to on your I-Pod?

WA wide range of stiff. Kesha, cha cha cha, hip hop, Michael Buble, old rock’n’roll. Not too many genres that I don’t listen to.

What traits do you admire in people?

Leadership, patience and entrepreneurship.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be?

When I was a kid I wanted to be a teacher or an actress. Teaching because I really enjoy teaching people. I do a lot of public speaking and seminars, and in sales you have to have performing abilities so you have to be a bit of an actress too. So I guess I am doing what I wanted as a child.

What’s on your top three wish list?

Spend more time with my grandchildren. Take them travelling around the world.

Wish to be able to visit all continents. I haven’t done them all yet.

I feel so passionate about this industry, about being in the travel business and the ability we have to travel freely. That we don’t go through again the difficulties we’ve gone through in the last little while.

Favourite ice cream?


What is your definition of happiness?

Having a great balance with work and family.

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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