Ponte Vedra resident Sandi Galloway has worked for several years in the airline and tourism industries. Today, she owns Sandi Galloway & Associates and provides workshops in travel safety and business etiquette.
Can you please briefly tell us about your background?
I began my career working for international airlines: Air Canada, Braniff International, Pan Am and British Airways. In my 20-year career, I worked my way from reservations agent to manager of flight attendants, assistant station manager and finally to sales and marketing. During my airline career, I returned to school to pursue a degree in tourism management from Florida International University. I met my late husband while working for Braniff International at the Miami Airport. He also worked for Braniff in the flight training department. We married, and I transferred to Dallas to join him. After leaving the airline industry, the Canadian Consulate General offered me a position as a tourism trade officer for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. This position offered me the opportunity to learn more about international protocol and foreign relations. In 1995, the tourism sector separated to become the Canadian Tourism Commission. I held the position of director of meetings, conventions and incentive travel for the Southern USA for 23 years. In 2015, I decided to move back to Florida and start my own company.
What’s the story of Sandi Galloway & Associates? What workshops do you provide?
I always knew that I wanted to own my own company. In preparation, I attended the Global Protocol Etiquette & Civility Academy in Dallas. I earned my Certified Protocol, Etiquette and Civility (CPECP) designation in 2013. Sandi Galloway & Associates was born from my love for the meetings, hospitality and travel industry and my desire to help businesspeople gain an edge by developing skills necessary to advance their career. My workshops on travel safety focus on risk management and the ever-growing concern for personal safety and security. I help keep travelers informed not only of potentially dangerous destinations but to help them understand steps they can take to keep themselves safe and healthy and steer clear of dangerous situations. In business, success is based on building relationships. My business etiquette workshops help build poise and confidence by mastering good manners. My international background adds a global perspective to this ever-changing world. The Jacksonville area is becoming an international melting pot. Cultures and customs vary greatly throughout the world. The opportunity for serious cultural mistakes is significant. Even if you never leave Florida, you will most likely encounter visitors from different areas of the world. Understanding cultural differences is critical to building relationships and to your bottom line.
How do you see the hospitality and travel industry changing?
The hospitality industry is dealing with multigenerational travelers now more than ever. Boomers have larger travel budgets and prefer to stay in hotels and motels when traveling, while millennials are more adventurous and prefer to “live like a local,” valuing experiences and utilizing booking tools such as Airbnb. Meeting the needs of such diverse travelers can be difficult. The industry is being challenged to “make it personal.” Technology is now assisting with every aspect of travel, helping to focus on enhancing the guest experience through online searches, with booking tools, for flight and hotels, plus other ways to personalize and meet guest expectations. Increasingly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being utilized to provide the industry with the information they need to deliver an exceptional guest experience. Social media will continue to influence travel decisions. An effective social media crisis management program needs to become a priority to help maintain positive guest relations.
How do you see people changing? And how do we as a society need to handle that change?
I believe that people really want to connect with each other. The technology pendulum has swung so far to the left that people have begun to realize that they have lost the connection with others. In the business world, meetings are on the rise as companies realize that meetings really do mean business and that you can not get the same results from a conference call. When people get together, ideas bloom and flourish. In a recent article that I read in Forbes, 60 percent of millennials would prefer to have some form of in-person teamwork, and they actually work better in groups than alone. Etiquette training can help connect generations. Many older workers still rely on the etiquette taught to them by their parents 40 to 50 years ago and believe that those rules are still in place. Most younger workers have had very little training in manners or etiquette at home and don’t even realize that social rules exist. World-class organizations have recognized that it has become their responsibility to step forward and fill this need to give them a leading edge and to help them stand out. Etiquette is ever-changing and evolving. Learning to adapt helps everyone succeed.
What do you enjoy most about living in the area?
I love being close to so many wonderful outdoor experiences. After 38 years driving in hectic Dallas traffic, I really enjoy a slower pace and the close proximity of activities. I love the friendliness of the people. People here are just nice! I’m a foodie, so I am really enjoying all of the new restaurants that seem to be popping up everywhere!
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to get out in nature to hike, walk on the beautiful beaches and kayak. I have two organizations that I enjoy volunteering. Through Compassionate St. Augustine I teach etiquette and civility to the young men at the St. Johns Detention Center, and through Florida Urgent Rescue (F.U.R.), I am helping to raise funds for the care of homeless animals. For fun, I take jiu-jitsu. I’m very excited that I just earned my blue belt.
Edited by Jon Blauvelt