Staff Member Spotlight: Maggie Valz

Title
Travel Consultant

Photos

Maggie is from Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Education. She spent many years working as a camp counselor and enjoys tennis, reading, and dancing. Along with teaching abroad in Australia, South Korea, and Spain, she has backpacked extensively throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, and North America. One of her favorite things to do while traveling is to try the local food, and she is always excited about her next adventure with TFT!

What is your favorite travel memory?

I am very fortunate to have many "favorite" travel memories, but one of the first that comes to mind is from a TFT trip in Southeast Asia. We were on a boat cruise through Ha Long Bay, Vietnam and had spent the day kayaking and swimming. The sun was setting and we were taking a cooking class, learning how to make traditional Vietnamese spring rolls. As the music played, we ended up having a dance party and I stopped for a minute to take in the scenery and knew how lucky I was to be with a great group of people experiencing a place many people only get to see through pictures.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have grown a lot while working for Travel For Teens and hope to continue to learn and inspire others through actions and words. Every trip I take opens my eyes to a new way of seeing things and how I can make a positive impact on the world. One of the biggest things I've learned is that every single one of us can take small steps to make a big difference.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Many students share stories about how traveling with TFT has changed their perspective on life and the world. This past summer, I had a camper who was spending her fourth summer with TFT and every story she shared revolved around the travelers and staff from each of her different trips. I believe connecting with others and forming relationships is the heart of travel and through TFT, I have seen many people form lasting friendships.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

With trips to over 46 countries, there are many programs I would choose. One of my favorite things about Travel For Teens is that we offer various programs focusing on community service, exploration, and adventure (and most of our trips have a mix of all three). If I could only choose one trip, I would love to do Fiji Service & Adventure. Everyone who goes to Fiji raves about getting to work hands-on with the local students and, of course, the beautiful islands and beaches.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Every day I am inspired by my co-workers and their commitment to creating trips that allow our travelers to learn, experience, and grow. When I think about working with like-minded individuals who are passionate about teaching teens to be travelers, not tourists, I am filled with pride and excited for TFT's future and what's to come.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Success can be measured in many ways and I think one of the most important things is if your leaders and students believe in the company and return year after year, excited to travel to new destinations while making life-long friends. I'm incredibly lucky to work with people I respect and who push me to be the best version of myself possible.