Never stop saying thank you — The two words are simple but they go a long way. People appreciate when they are treated with respect and when you show that you appreciate them.
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Terika L. Haynes of Dynamite Travel.
Dynamite Travel, LLC is a five-star rated luxury travel consultancy that has been providing travel planning service excellence to clients for over a decade. Dynamite Travel, LLC is also a nationally certified minority small business. Dynamite Travel, LLC provides luxury travel planning services for: corporate events, group events, destination weddings, honeymoons, and individual travel. Dynamite Travel, LLC also offers high-quality products through their eCommerce stores which currently includes mobility scooters and luxury luggage products.
Dynamite Travel was founded by Dr. Terika L. Haynes in 2008. Dr. Haynes is a savvy business professional who sought out to create a company that would not only assist customers with purchasing travel services and products but would also assist customers with creating unique travel experiences. As such, Dynamite Travel, LLC is a company dedicated to creating unforgettable vacation experiences and making sure that each client’s experience with Dynamite Travel is So Dynamite!
Over the years, Dr. Haynes found herself most comfortable within the luxury travel realm as she experienced one destination after another. As such, she has dedicated her focus to providing luxury vacation experiences for her clients. With over 15 years of sales and consulting experience, solid business acumen, and management knowledge, Dr. Haynes has the credentials, experience, and expertise necessary to make sure that your luxury vacation endeavors are a blast. Dynamite Travel, LLC is committed to providing personalized service of the highest quality to each client that they serve. Dynamite Travel’s execution of industry research and sales techniques will ensure that you will have memorable luxury vacation adventures that are So Dynamite!
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I initially started working as a travel advisor to earn extra money to address my student loan balance. Once I started working I discovered how much I enjoyed being a travel advisor and decided to expand my business and work as a full time entrepreneur.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
The most memorable story to date has been one involving a client who wanted to take her father on a vacation. Her father had an illness that required him to be in a wheelchair 24/7. The client approached me asking for assistance to plan a vacation for her father who was convinced he could never take a vacation because of his limited mobility. I assisted the client in creating a vacation experience that would accommodate her father’s needs. When the day came for them to take the vacation when they arrived the client said that her father broke down in tears. The client had never saw her father cry before and I felt very honored to hear that the first tears she ever saw from him were tears of joy. The client could not stop thanking me for assisting her and said that the vacation would change her father (and their family’s lives) forever. That travel planning experience gave me a sense of purpose and let me know that my goal of creating memorable vacation experiences for each client was truly my passion.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
In an effort to appear formal and professional I mistakenly addressed a woman with the Mr. salutation because I assumed that the name she had was that of a male. From this lesson I learned to never make assumptions and to always be diligent about doing research.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our level of customer service is what makes our company stand out. We plan a good deal of group vacations and we try our best to also show up for the client by meeting them there in the destination to assist with any needs that the group may have. Often times the travelers in large groups are surprised that we actually make the effort to take the trip with them to make sure that everything runs smoothly. For our last destination wedding in Mexico we managed to make sure that everything ran smoothly and many of the guests were shocked to see us there onsite! The guests really appreciated being able to meet us in person and feel more secure in knowing that they’ll have a great vacation.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
The travel industry has experienced significant losses due to COVID-19. To respond to this challenge, I’ve created luxury ‘staycation’ package options for travelers to experience and discover fun things to do in their own backyard so that they do not have to travel far from their home and they can still have memorable travel experiences.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
The best way to manage a large team is to first get to know each of the team members. Learn what their strengths and weaknesses are so that you can appropriately delegate. It also helps to have ‘champions’ that members of the team can seek for assistance. Last, I am a strong believer of team building exercises. People tend to work together better if they have shared experiences and goals. I’ve found that team building exercises can really help to create a cohesive team which can improve productivity.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I think that it would be difficult to give one person credit for my success. I believe that my success is an indication of what can happen if someone has a community of people with their best interest in mind. I’ve had wonderful mentors over the course of my career along with strong support from friends and family. I think they all have collectively helped to mold me into the leader that I am today.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I have used my success to mentor and inspire many students and youth in the community. I have worked with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, served as a youth little league coach, and have also served as a mentor for mentorship programs at different colleges and universities to serve as a resource and sounding board for students aspiring young careerists. I believe that my purpose is to give back through mentorship to help others achieve their goals.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
Get everything in writing — In the past I’ve had conversations with clients on the phone where one thing was discussed but it was denied later. I learned to get everything in writing so there can be no misinterpretations down the road.
Always stay humble — Success can tarnish personality for some but for those who can stay humble ego can never get in the way. I’ve had experiences when I’ve had to go back and ask someone for something that if I had not remained humble I may not have been able to.
Never stop saying thank you — The two words are simple but they go a long way. People appreciate when they are treated with respect and when you show that you appreciate them. Especially when you’ve reached success not saying thank you might push people to paint a picture of you being arrogant which can put your brand reputation at risk.
Connections are key — I try to make connections everywhere I go. I’ve made connections all around the world with people who have in turn served as great ambassadors to my clients when they visit their city. The connections that I’ve made help to set me apart from my competitors because I can reassure my clients that when they arrive at their vacation destination I have someone there that will make sure that their vacation is seamless.
There is always more to learn — I’ve been in business for 12 years but I’ve never stopped learning. I recognize the importance of continuous education and that has helped me to be a better leader. The constant passion to learn also helps to negate the mindset of knowing everything. One of my favorite quotes is by Socrates and says that true wisdom comes in knowing that you know nothing. This highlights the fact that there is always the opportunity to grow by learning more.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would love to inspire a pay it forward movement. We should all pay for the person’s meal or coffee behind us in line. Right now I think we could all use a pick me up and I think a pay it forward movement could be a big blessing to many people in time of need.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One of my favorite life lesson quotes is “Behind every great woman is herself” There have been times in my career when I was told that I could not do something because I was a woman. This quote reminds me that it is okay to be bold and confident as a woman. The quote also reminds me that if I don’t believe in myself no one else will.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I would love to have lunch with Oprah! She has been an inspiration to me and I believe that she would provide invaluable insight as an African American female leader and she would ask me tough (but necessary) questions that could help me grow as a person and a professional.
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