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Sandy Borowsky has always had a love for the travel industry. She grew up in it, after all. So it comes as no surprise that she eventually made her way to work in her family's business, Starr, a charter and bus touring company, in 1998.

The family-owned company, started by Borowsky's grandfather, Gilbert "Gil" Sussman, has a long and storied history, dating all the way back to 1947 when it started with only two transit buses that provided route service between Trenton and Hightstown, New Jersey.

"After college, I worked as a retail buyer for a large department store chain before coming into the family business at age 29," said Borowsky, a Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania native. Though she initially never had any intentions of joining the family business, Borowsky, along with her husband, made the decision to move their lives cross-country from their home at the time in California back to the East Coast.

Today, as Vice President, Tours & Marketing, Borowsky helps lead the team at Starr—now one of the largest privately owned tour and motorcoach companies in America—into the future.

Of course, much has happened and changed over the years—advancements in technology, a recession, not to mention a global pandemic—but Borowsky continues to find joy in the work she does.

"My job is literally to provide vacations for people," she said. "It's very rewarding! Travel memories are memories that last a lifetime."

Borowsky knows this to be true from firsthand experience, as she enjoys traveling together with her three sons and making memories along the way. She's also an avid biker and pickleball player.

Borowsky takes comfort in knowing she and the Starr team were able to find solutions to the many challenges brought on during the COVID-19 pandemic and that the company is now doing better than ever. They were able to successfully pivot, taking actions like purchasing the touring division of an otherwise defunct Maryland-based bus company, creating an entirely new operating line, and welcoming back employees who had to be temporarily let go during the thick of the pandemic, along with customers who were eager to travel once again.

The highlights of Borowsky's career to date abound. However, she finds connecting with people in all facets of the industry to be among the most memorable aspects.

"​​I love meeting new, talented people who want to share information in order to grow themselves, their company, the industry, as well as me and my company," she explained, noting a lesson she's learned over the years that still rings true today. "Listen, listen, listen ... then talk!"

When it comes to advice for industry newcomers, Borowsky has four simple points to offer.

"Take your time, listen to learn, work hard and dream big," she said. "What we do is really good stuff!"

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.

This article originally appeared in the Oct/Nov '22 issue of Groups Today.

 

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