Patricia Sahin credits mentor Nap C. DuFault, whom she met when she was an international student working at the School of Education at Nova Southeastern University, as piquing her interest in motivation. “He was a corporate consultant leading a professional development project for the school and he taught me so much about motivation, not only as a science, but also a lifetime experience.”
Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Patricia completed her bachelor’s degree in marketing management, and then moved to the United States for an internship followed by a master’s degree in business administration at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
“I was drawn to the travel industry in general when I started working for the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic back in 2001. I was an admin at the Office of International Affairs in Santo Domingo, and over the years moved within the organization, left twice and then rejoined to become Director of the Dominican Republic Tourism Office in Chicago in 2007. After that, for over eight years, I focused on strategies that would help elevate the destination’s image, support luxury developments and promote sustainable tourism practices. This is how incentive travel became an integral part of my strategy and eventually this defined my passion and career path,” she says.
She joined SITE encouraged by industry friends like Mary Paz Ramirez from AM Resorts and Bich Lien Kaldahl who was President of SITE Chicago at the time.
With her position at Pacific World, she finds herself helping to design incentive experiences for clients around the world. Most recently with Pacific World they took a group of clients to experience Barcelona from the sky through a rooftop hopping experience.
“Every stop not only featured different venues and views from the city, but it was also a gastronomical experience as well. From Barcelona we then traveled to Monaco and the southern French Rivera for an unforgettable and exclusive experience, going beyond the landmarks to explore off-the-beaten-path locations.”
She’s also proud of the help she gave hosting the SITE Executive Summit in Punta Cana in 2014. “It was one of the most memorable and fulfilling experiences of my career. This event showcased the destination’s readiness for incentive travel, but also had a positive impact on our community creating awareness in different sectors, motivating students and employees to learn more or becoming specialized in our industry.”
When Patricia is not at work, her passion is travel. Immersing herself into new cultural experiences through people—“appreciating our differences and seeing life from a different angle,” she says. And she loves to cook. “I feel like I can travel the world through my kitchen and share my experiences and taste for international cuisine with friends and family. I also enjoy boating on a sunny day and going for a splash in the warm waters of Miami Beach. While most of my family lives in the Dominican Republic, I am lucky to have my younger sister and brother close to me, and whenever I can find an excuse to go to my beloved country, I don’t think twice to go and visit.”
Her greatest source of pride in her career is the fact that she’s well rounded, working in different disciplines from destination marketing to hotel group sales and now having her own business and working on the DMC side on behalf of Pacific World and other clients.
“I am proud of the footprint that I left at each and every opportunity that I had in my career, and, most importantly, the ability to choose doing what I am most passionate about.”
She has a few favorite movies: “Gladiator”, “Slumdog Millionaire” and the “Notebook” and she loves music by Dominican artist Juan Luis Guerra, the song “Imaagine” by John Lennon and when she’s singing karaoke, “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys.
If she were hosting a dinner she’d invite her husband, Gurcay, first to sit with Jesus and the prophet Muhammad. “My husband and I have different beliefs and that has never been an issue, but maybe we can find the secret of how we can coexist in peace despite religious differences. While I wish I could bring other famous leaders to the table, I think I would rather bring my maternal grandmother and great grandmother back for a bit. I never met my great grandmother but I heard great stories about her. My grandmother passed away three years ago, and I miss her dearly. I come from a family of very strong and courageous women.”
The best career advice she’s been given? “In any given situation we have three choices, accept what it is, change it, or leave it; the risk of a wrong decision is better than getting lost in indecision, and there is only one way to avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.”