Julia Trejo started in the incentive industry as an intern at the Mininstry of Tourism in Mexico city in 1988.
“For me, it was the beginning of a series of great happenings. My job consisted of attending trade shows and international events and handing out brochures of the different destinations that Mexico had to offer to the world. I would be at the booths for the duration of the trade shows and would talk with the attendees. I learned so much about Mexico in general and dreamt every day about different places that I know so well now. Shortly after my internship they hired me for a few months so I would combine my studies as a professional translator with a part time job. I can’t believe 30 years have passed since that first job!”
Julia joined SITE in 2004 because she wanted to belong to a network of professionals focused on incentive travel. She had heard about SITE through some great leaders and passionate professionals that became good friends: Kitzia Morales, Beatriz Chenhalls and Ella Messerli, all of them past presidents of the Mexico Chapter.
“Kitzia asked me to collaborate with the board of directors which I was honored to accept. Sponsorship from my bosses has been crucial to my development within the association so my current boss Sunny Irvine, owner from Terramar has always supported me when it comes to attending meetings. I attended my very first SITE event before becoming a member, the SITE University in Costa Rica back in 2001. I had the best experience! Everyone was so welcoming and the education was incredible. I learned so much.”
Besides those “amazing ladies” in the Mexico Chapter, Julia has had other mentors, as well: Carolyn Dow and Mary MacGregor.
“They have left such an impression on me. Carolyn was the president of the association back in 2001 when I attended SITE University and I will always remember her with her smile and charming elegance. I would just look at her on stage and think how I would love to be like her. When I received the Member of the Year award in 2012 in Beijing, the first thing that came to my mind was her gentle smile. She was in the audience so I ran to hug her.
“Mary is also such a role model. Her elegance, eloquency and intelligence is so inspiring. I was president of the Mexico Chapter in 2012 and she attended our annual retreat in Puerto Vallarta. I will never forget how supportive she was with our event. I am also lucky to have true friends that are leaders in the organization and it would not be fair not to mention all of them but a couple that I always look up to are Rajeev Kohli and Alejandro Verzoub.”
When Julia’s not working she says, I enjoy my home—even cleaning the house and practicing my Marie Kondo organizing skills. I love a clean house and have a little OCD with organizing things. I am away from home for a good number of days a year so things like doing the dishes help me a lot with managing stress. I also read a lot and listen to music. Lately I have found a lot of joy by taking long walks.”
When she travels, she says, she and her husband love to visit big cities. “The hustle and bustle of New York or Chicago or Singapore make a big difference from our quiet life in Puerto Vallarta. We don’t have renowned museums or iconic buildings in our hometown so we love to visit those while we travel. We also enjoy watching TV together; our son Alfredo usually picks the ones to watch when he is at home visiting us.”
Julia’s passion is being a connector—putting people together. “I do not find anything more fulfilling and incredible in my life than having the ability to connect people and make them find their a-ha moments. I love to create opportunities in my field, find the right person for the right situation or the right venue for example. It is exciting to listen to others, understand their needs and then connect the dots needed for success. My passion for the words ‘How can I help you?’ is really genuine. I attribute this to my Mexican DNA. The expression ‘Mi Casa es su Casa’ is so true!”
One of the most memorable events she did for a client was a private dinner at the Panama Canal visitors center. “This program was actually a lead referred by a SITE member. Our client had a wonderful incentive group in Panama just before our 2015 global conference. During dinner and in the most amazing evening, the ships were crossing the canal and my client asked, ‘Could you imagine if one of our ships would cross right now? My client would be ecstatic!’ she said. Not even 10 minutes passed and one big Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) car container ship with the big logo of the client was crossing the Canal! That was a big high in my life. My client was so happy! We were also able to have a group photo up close and personal with the vessel. A memorable evening indeed.”
The greatest souce of pride for Julia is her Mexican heritage. “I take a lot of pride in my country and our hospitable people. I’m also proud to be a leader in a service company where we truly deliver unparalleled service and have done so for more than 25 years.”
She’s also very proud of her family. “My son is a young talent, independent since 13, fully bilingual since a very young age and has accomplished a lot for a 21 year-old. He is a composer, a singer and an artist. He is now embarking into a new adventure in the marketing world and in just a couple of months he has done several short films that are amazing! My husband is a master in his field in the construction and materials science and since I got sick he has devoted his life to me. I often tell my son that the true meaning of love is not holding hands or saying I love you every five seconds. Love means to me the countless hours my husband had to take me to the hospital, leaving everything to join me during trips so he could dress me and put on my shoes which is the most difficult thing I do these days. I am proud of being able to nurture relationships from literally all over the world and call friends to many of my SITE colleagues.”
As far as tastes in everything from movies to music, Julia says “like any good Gemini I truly enjoy an eclectic taste. I can go from a very light comedy to a robust drama. The last movie I watched had me in tears and I have seen it like three times already. I loved Rocketman not only because I love Elton John but because he has a meaningful life. He knows he made many mistakes but had the courage to put his act together and have a spectacular comeback. I realize I love British singers and song writers. I love everything from The Beatles, Oasis, Amy Winehouse, Elton John and Queen. I also read anything and everything from The New Yorker to Travel & Leisure and enjoy the app Flipboard with a weekly digest of the most popular articles.
If she was hosting a dinner for five, she would invite Bradley Cooper, “He is the only guy I would cheat on my husband with (don’t worry, he knows); John Lennon because I think we would agree on many things; and my mom because she would help making dinner! I would invite my boss Sunny Irvine because I admire him as a super positive person with an approachable persona and I’d invite Amy Winehouse to sing us a song or two. She would have a fight with John I guess. It would be a very high-spirited table.”
And the best piece of advise she’s received? “My motto these days: Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. We never know when someone is having a hard day and you can brighten it."