Some call her mama bear, and others call her the Georgia Bulldogs' football teams' biggest fan. Meet Lisa Fletcher, Gifted Travel Networks' first-ever Independent Contractor. Lisa's decision to affiliate with GTN at its early stages was a testament to trusting her intuition and taking a leap of faith. Both characterize the true entrepreneurial spirit we embody here at GTN. As we continue to celebrate our 10-year anniversary, all year long, we want to take this moment to spotlight Lisa and her story.
A Leap of Faith
Since 1983 Lisa Fletcher has been planning vacations to Hawaii/SouthPacific and Europe. She has helped many busy professionals take exceptional custom-crafted vacations to these specialized destinations, sharing her knowledge and own experiences along the way.
It was in 2011 when Lisa opened her own travel business, Signature Escapes, by Lisa. At this time, she was affiliated with a host agency and worked on building her business when something caught her eye. It was an advertisement to subscribe to an email list for GIFTE (Global Institute For Travel Entrepreneurs). After subscribing, she continuously received emails from “Meredith.” After some time, she realized this “Meredith” person (GIFTE founder & Chief Visionary Officer of GTN) lived just down the road from her, in Mooresville, NC. So, she decided to meet Meredith and the rest of the GIFTE team in-person to check out what this was all about. Becoming a member of GIFTE and participating in the live events, Lisa felt like this was the “right place to be.” When Meredith, Jen and Vanessa decided to open a host agency in 2013, they approached Lisa to see if she would be daring enough to switch over and host with them. For her, this was a very tough decision.
“It was a very tough decision because I was pretty happy with my current host," said Fletcher. "This was truly a huge leap of faith since the “new” host agency wouldn’t yet have sales to qualify for top commission percentages or other perks/benefits that I was used to having...Something in my gut told me it was the right decision, and I decided to trust my gut and make the jump.”
Since taking this leap, Lisa finds it difficult to pin point just one favorite memory during her time as an IC with GTN. The most cherished moments were often experienced during the annual conferences and hosted events, where the GTN community came together in-person. These gatherings were filled with laughter, camaraderie, and joy. But, what she has always cherished close to her heart are the clear-cut examples of how much GTN cares for its IC’s and employees.
“I will never forget, I was standing up to leave my mother's memorial service, and as I turned around, I saw the entire GTN team sitting together in a pew at the church – they all showed up for me. I couldn’t believe it, during this tough time, GTN was there for me. No question about it!”
The Transition From IC to Full-time Employee
In 2015, Lisa was assisting as a mentor part-time for (at the time) the brand-new Travel MBA program. At this point, she was still booking travel full-time. As time went on, those part-time mentor hours turned into more of a full-time gig, and GTN brought Lisa on as a full-time employee on June 1, 2017.
“It was then that I made the very tough decision to close my travel business and work for GTN full-time as the Director of Education.”
Lisa, being both an IC and an employee of GTN, has had the opportunity to witness the company’s growth over the past 10 years in a different light than most.
“It’s mind-blowing. I am so proud to have been a small part of the growth and to learn firsthand that anything is possible if you surround yourself with the right team of amazingly strong women and stay focused on your dream.”
What Does the Future Hold For GTN?
Today, Lisa celebrates her six-year anniversary of being a full-time employee of GTN, I asked her what she thinks the future holds for GTN, and her response:
“Nothing but good things! We have grown quickly, but thoughtfully and with all the best and most authentic intentions. Our mission statement has changed slightly over the years, but is still so clear 'Cultivating success through travel entrepreneurship by delivering award-winning content within a collaborative community.' As long as we continue to focus on supporting & educating our members and elevating the travel industry as a whole, the sky is the limit!"
We thank Lisa for being an integral part of our story and for taking that leap of faith back in 2013. While the road less traveled may be uncertain and challenging, it is in those moments of uncertainty that we truly find ourselves. The celebration of GTN's decade of success will continue throughout the year with more featured articles to come!