By Kim Grzywacz, CTIS
In the wise words of Benjamin Franklin, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
When I entered this industry from teaching, I found many similarities. However, there was still a lot I needed to know/learn. Surrounding myself with leaders in the industry, professionals that knew the ropes, was a great place to start. However, being an educator, I still hungered for more structured learning. The Certified Travel Industry Specialist (CTIS) program through ABA gave me this structure.
By now, the first class for 2019 has been completed and the second course has begun. If you think it is too late to join - you are incorrect. Yes, this program is structured to be completed in one calendar year, but it is also flexible enough to allow participants to take it at their own pace. If it is a budgetary issue, make sure you put this out in front of your employer so they can budget accordingly. I did not sign up in my first year - it was my second year when I took the plunge. But I had gathered the information prior. Not only do you have online classes to take, but you are asked to attend ABA Marketplace education sessions or participate in ABA education webinars that are put on throughout the year. The opportunity to learn - at your own pace and in topics that interest you the most - is what I love best about CTIS.
As you go through this program, you will find yourself questioning your decision to participate. I started off with a “WOW - this is great.” Then went to “Oh man, what did I get myself into?” And ended with “YES! I did it!”
Would I do it again? Absolutely! I have the books sitting in my office. I refer back to them when discussing many topics with my staff, with Women In Buses, and with industry friends. I love attending the graduation ceremony every year at ABA’s Marketplace. It was especially fun to celebrate 30 years of the program in Louisville this year.
And remember, “If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. Investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Ben Franklin.
Kim Grzywacz, CTIS, is the director of sales for ABA member CIT Signature Transportation in Ames, Iowa. Kim is active on the ABA Board, Women In Buses Council and as a member of the Marketplace Advisory Committee. She was the 2019 ABA Marketplace Chair in Louisville, Ky. You can reach Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.