Maya Northen, Chimera Travel, Cherry Hill NJ

Spotlight on Maya Northen, Chimera Travel, Cherry Hill NJ

Maya Northen

Q: What value do you find in being an ASTA YPS member?

A: The ability to meet, interact, and share ideas with those travel industry professionals that are similar in age to myself is invaluable. Many of these members are in a similar stage of the business as I am, and it's so helpful to be able to seek advice, feedback, inspiration, and motivation from those who are in the same shoes, so to speak. In addition, the events and FAMs organized give me opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise. In the past year, I've been able to speak on several panels at large travel industry events, an opportunity that I don't feel I would have had without YPS.

Q: How has being a member of ASTA helped you in the industry?

A: I started my business from scratch, completely independent and with basically no industry network. Through ASTA, I began attending events, meeting other travel professionals, and growing my knowledge through educational seminars. I then got involved with both my local chapter and with YPS, serving on the board of YPS for a year, and currently in my second year as the president of the Delaware Valley Chapter. Sitting on boards such as this, you learn so more much about running a business, and it helps me in my day-to-day work as a business owner.    

Q: Do you have any words of advice for other young people coming into the industry?

A; Get involved! Everyone's different, and for some people getting involved may mean working your way up to the President's Council or the Board, while for others it may mean going to your chapter meetings, joining YPS and coming to our events. But whatever it means to you, do something to put yourself out there, to meet and connect with others.

My other piece of advice is discover your niche, your forte, early on. (I say this from experience because I wish I'd done this earlier.) Pick something you love, that you're good at, and will enjoy doing for the next x number of years to come, not because it's "the hot thing" ... because the trends this year may not be the trends five years down the road and at the end of the day, there's nothing that keeps you more motivated and makes you more successful than loving what you do every day.

Maya is also a member of ASTA's Young Professionals Society. Find out more.

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ASTA - American Society of Travel Agents
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