“Since my first trip abroad, my career path has been to help people see the world and connect with others.”
Brightspark Travel’s Tour Consultant Stephanie Rank shines with her enthusiasm and passion for educational travel. We had the opportunity to sit down with Stephanie to learn about her journey and interests, and what she looks forward to each morning. To learn about her experience, continue reading!
Can you tell us a little about your day-to-day job functions?
My current role involves working with a teachers and parent-sponsors to develop and operate an itinerary that encourage students to ‘feel the history’ as my high school teacher, Mr. Lemons, would say!
Every day is a little bit different here – I’m lucky enough to be able to take advantage of Brightspark’s great location by taking the Blue Line to work every day. While I’m on the train, I look through my emails, drink coffee, and listen to a podcast. I’m currently obsessed with Lexicon Valley, but I also love Stuff You Should Know, and Stuff You Missed in History Class.
I usually get to work by eight, have even more coffee, and my standard breakfast: Ezekial sesame toast with avocado and a hard-boiled egg. Covered with Sriracha, of course! I usually have my breakfast as I respond to new emails and take a look at my sales pipeline.
My favorite thing to do is begin a new quote for our clients! I start with an initial call to discuss what the sponsor would like to do on their tour. We discuss everything from pricing to logistics, and come up with a game plan. Once I have an idea on what the client likes, I create an itinerary and proposal that is unique to their group. Some groups love their moonlit Potomac Riverboat cruise, while other groups love the historic walking ghost tour, and yet others want to see a Broadway-style show!
We also spend a lot of our day researching and reaching out to teachers that may not be traveling yet. With regular cuts in funding at the district and state level, many schools are struggling. We offer so many resources on fundraising that I’d love to see every student in the United States travel by the time they graduate from high school. Whether it be a day trip to St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch and the City Museum, an overnight trip to Chicago with a Wrigley Field tour and the Museum of Science and Industry, or a senior class trip to Disney World, it can all be done with enough planning and dedication!
How did you hear about Brightspark?
I heard about Brightspark on LinkedIn!
What’s your favorite part about working at Brightspark?
Tough to choose! I learn something new every day. The people here are amazing and are so supportive and encouraging of growth and development. And I help positively impact young minds and broaden their horizons. Travel is so important to connect with others; perhaps, if everyone begins to travel and open their minds to other people, ideas, and cultures, we can begin to live more harmoniously.
Before working at Brightspark, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
I have had a few crazy jobs! From managing a Serbian bakery in my hometown, to nannying for a family full of girls, to being the drapery expert at Restoration Hardware! The most interesting was working at the Improv Comedy Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. I met a lot of comedians, and even had sushi with Lewis Black!
What tips do you have for teachers traveling with students?
Relax! Let us handle the hard stuff!
How do you balance your career at Brightspark and your life outside of work?
I am pretty fastidious about planning my schedule in advance. I try to go to the gym for a run and some yoga a few days a week, so my social schedule is planned around that. I am a proponent of getting my “chores” done on Sunday night before I go to bed – I always feel more prepared for the week!
How do you like the new Brightspark office? Any favorite perks you’d like to share?
Well … I never was at the old office, but I heard there is a Pokémon GO gem in the sculpture outside of the new office! The fact that it is easily accessible via public transit is amazing. I also really love the light fixtures in the kitchen.
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
I love each city I travel to! Munich, Cinque Terre, and Nova Scotia were all particularly memorable visits outside of the United States. I also enjoy doing touristy things in Chicago, where I live! I love the Architectural Boat tour, and frequent the Art Institute and Millennium Park whenever I can. I would like to see more of the West Coast and Austin, Texas next.
For more behind the scenes action at Brightspark, follow us on Instagram: @BrightsparkTour