An Exclusive Interview with Grace McBride, Director of Marketing at MilesAhead
How do you think your role as Director of Marketing impacts MilesAhead? What kind of effect do you have on the company?
To be honest with you, Director of Marketing is my title, but it doesn't nearly encompass all that I do at MilesAhead. I am responsible for our marketing, but in a small company, you need to wear many hats. I mainly manage our Quality Control teams but also coordinate our marketing and hiring efforts. MilesAhead is unique in that the performance of every employee has a direct impact on our client's trips. Regardless if it is boarding passes or the type of water in a hotel room, every aspect of a client's experience is the result of meticulous work done by our team as a whole. It is then the responsibility of our Quality Control team to carry-out those details and then double-check them. My job is to manage that team and to supply the tools needed to ensure quality at the highest level. My teams are the ones making a direct impact on our reputation and creating the experience that our clients crave and come back for time and time again.
What gets you excited? What passions do you have? How do they relate to your position?
There is a sign that hangs in my kitchen that is the motto I have lived by my entire life—live with passion. It has allowed me to live a life that is full and is bursting at the seams. I am passionate about learning, experiencing, and not taking anything for granted. If there is anything new I can try, anything I can do more, anything I can experience differently, I will be the first to sign up. When I was exposed to the world of travel for the first time working at an airline, I realized how I could take my passion for life to a new level. To experience new foods, meet new people, and have breathtaking experiences—there is nothing like it. I am extremely lucky that I get to turn this craving into my career and my world.
Tell me about some recent trends you’ve been seeing in the global travel industry. How do you use these trends to be successful at your job?
One of the biggest trends I have seen is the power of influencers, video, and social media in tourism. When a handful of influencers are traveling to a new place in Mexico or an obscure spot in Southeast Asia, a few months will go by and all of a sudden it is a newly popular tourism destination. Influencers, social media, and specifically the use of video has literally revived tourism sports, or even just renewed or ignited interest in them. This is incredibly powerful for those that are trying to sell you on their hotel or country. But it is even more powerful for people who are trying to decide how to use their hard earned money. These days, you can have word-of-mouth recommendations from influencers you trust, but you can also experience every aspect of their trip or destination as if you were with them. It is a powerful tool that I am excited to hopefully incorporate into our business in the future.
What is the biggest roadblock you experience in your position at MilesAhead?
Currently, the biggest roadblock is that I am still a college student. There are so many days where I know I can do more or accomplish more for the company, but I have to stop and move my focus over to homework. You always need to take time for friends, family, and yourself, but having another full-time job like college is no small challenge. I am excited to see what our company can accomplish when we actually have more time to dedicate to it.
How is working for a relatively new company different from working at an established company, such as at your previous position at JetBlue?
The biggest differences are the speed at which things move. I have worked in a few corporate environments and they were all incredible working experiences that I pull from everyday. But I was so eager to work for MilesAhead because I feel like we are actually building and creating something before our eyes. Our executive team has literally restructured MilesAhead over dinner, flown across the country on the fly, and hand-delivered missing luggage for a client all because we can and because we care deeply. There are pros and cons that come with that, but for a company our size working and evolving at lightning speed is necessary to achieve the kind of success we envision for the company.
How is it to work with so many people from different backgrounds? How does that impact the creative pool? Does it ever cause any problems?
I think one of the single most important things our company can do to ensure its success and continued growth is that we bring in as many different and passionate minds as possible. Especially since we are all so young, it is hard not to be able to look up within our own ranks and have someone elder to learn from. If we can count on each other to speak up and add our own opinions and experiences, I am confident our team will push each other to put our best feet forward.
What is your favorite part about working with Miles Ahead?
My favorite part of working with MilesAhead is the challenge. Every day there is something new to tackle, learn about, or create. When you are working in that kind of an atmosphere, things are constantly thrown your way, and it is up to you to not only handle it, but thrive at it.