Steve Maehl was nominated as one of the 2018 Groups Today Top 10 Next Gens by readers for making a difference in the industry. Steve has worked in sales, operations and tour guiding, and currently serves as Vice President of Global Travel Alliance.
Could you give us a brief overview of your career? How did you get involved in the student travel industry, and what led you to your position as Vice President of Global Travel Alliance?
I got my start 16 years ago as a tour guide in Europe. It was there I met my wife, led countless groups all over Europe, and gained a greater understanding of the student travel industry that would help me for years to come.
The role progressed into sales, operations and eventually management. But I do still enjoy guiding the occasional trip to remind me why I started doing this to begin with: to change students' lives through travel.
Why are you passionate about making student travel a reality for as many students as possible?
Travel has been transformational in my own life. From my travels as a kid to work experiences I have had around the world, I believe that travel provides the opportunity for students to experience life outside of their own bubble and gain a greater appreciation for the amazing world we live in.
You've traveled to over 60 countries and organized tours in more than 30. What are a few of your favorite destinations or travel memories?
After graduating from university, I moved to New Zealand and taught in a small rural Maori village in the jungle. That will remain one of my favorite memories of both travel and teaching. Soon after, I started tour guiding in Europe.
Why do you believe international travel is a good experience for students?
We live in a chaotic world right now. I think that taking students out of the country to experience other cultures and interact with other people will show them that we are all more alike then we are different, and everyone can help make a difference in this world.
What is your most prized accomplishment in your career so far?
If I have made an impact on one student's life, and they were inspired to go out and make a difference in this world, then that will always be my greatest accomplishment.
How do you hope to make a difference in the travel industry?
I believe my travel experience and passion for student travel can help promote growth in student travel. More opportunities should be made available for students to travel and be impacted by the change that can come from that.
Courtesy of Groups Today.