Employee Spotlight: Hilary Flanagan, Executive Assistant
Friday, March 23rd, 2012 | By Katie
Many of the members of the Tenon Tours staff behind the scenes don’t get a lot of public attention or praise from our customers, but without them Tenon Tours wouldn’t be the Ireland travel company it is today. The team voted this month and feel as though our Executive Assistant (/Project Manager/Website Editor/Emerald Isle Classic Guru/Anything we ask her to do) deserves some major attention! If you’ve never met or worked directly with Hilary Flanagan the following interview will probably have our office lines ringing for a few minutes with this entertaining lady (781-435-0425). For the thousand joining us for the Emerald Isle Classic this September, you’re in luck- she’ll be one of your hosts!
What attracted you to the travel industry?
Hilary: I did an Ireland study abroad program in the spring of 2008 while at Boston University. Is it too cliché to admit that I absolutely fell in love? Our program was based in Dublin, but BU gave us a lot of time to travel so we traveled across most parts of Ireland, including Northern Ireland, London, Oslo, Rome, Barcelona and Paris. It was during this time that I became aware of the rest of the world. As Americans, we naturally tend to think of ourselves. It fascinated me to see what other cultures thought of Americans. And I, in turn, became fascinated with their lives. My favorite thing to do while traveling is to just talk to the locals – hear what they have to say, understand their lives, learn their stories. That’s why I became attracted to the travel industry. My biggest desire is for other people to experience what I have while traveling – to gain a broader perspective on the world and how you relate to it.
Hilary: I really enjoy reading the Tenon Tours reviews from our clients after they come back. I do a lot of the background work, so I don’t get to talk to most of our clients – it’s so rewarding to hear how much they enjoyed their trip!
Did you ever think that you could make a living having this much fun?
Hilary: Not even close. I’m so lucky I found Tenon and that they took a chance on me. The people who work here are just the most amazing group of individuals. We really are a family and it’s just so fun when we’re all together. It’s also completely gratifying. I spend my day helping to plan people’s dream trips – is there anything really better than that? Well, maybe cheesecake. And probably world peace. But dream trips = close third.
Have you ever had the pleasure of assisting with positive life-changing travel?
Hilary: A lot of the groups I’ve had contact with have been exceptionally wonderful people. I love working with our groups planning family trips to Ireland. This summer we had a few couples wanting to take their entire families to Ireland. They renewed their marriage vows and got to travel around the whole country with their family. They’ve all been so grateful for our help after they return and it makes all the work putting together their trip incredibly gratifying.
Anybody who has dealt with you knows you’re responsible for a wide variety of responsibilities at Tenon Tours. Is there anything you don’t (or won’t) do?!
Hilary: Can I say sales? Haha JK LOLZ SIKE! Except not really… I’m too awkward for sales. I don’t have the soothing O’Mollie voice and I’m not a smooth talker like DMon (another person you want to call the office for).
How excited are you to be in Ireland when Notre Dame plays Navy in the Emerald Isle Classic?
Hilary: This trip is going to be AMAZING! It’ll be the first time I’ve been back since I studied there and I really couldn’t be more excited. We have so many awesome clients going on this trip to Ireland. It’s going to be such a great experience for us since we rarely get to actually meet our clients!
Hilary: Probably Kate Hudson. Most people say she’s my celebrity doppelganger and she’s fun and bubbly and blonde. Traits I believe I have. Though she’s far too flat chested to really play me.
(Sorry none of the pictures here will allow you to compare)
Pragmatic Hilary says– water, food, and a companion.
The Hilary That People Might Actually Want to Hang Out With– Jameson, a fennec fox, and an iProduct loaded with all six seasons of LOST so I could brush up on my “surviving whilst stranded on an island” skills.
Hilary: Oh man, fine, I’ll admit it. I’m the best at being creepy. I force everyone to be my friend and I ask them too many personal questions. Or I pick up the phone and start addressing the person on the other end by name even though they never gave it to me and I’m just reading it off the caller ID. Or I creep on everyone’s Facebook. Or I just sidle up to people’s desks without saying anything and just wait for them to acknowledge me. Am I winning any dates yet?
Hilary: Currently – Nike. I just bought new softball cleats with an orange Nike swoosh on the side. Representing my team, the O-Sox, of course!