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Wildest Dreams Evolve From Major Decisions

Katie Stadius
Sep 13, 2021 2:35:42 PM

Who joins a tourism start-up in the middle of a pandemic?  

A year ago I joined Zartico (formerly Entrada) as the seventh employee. Listening to the team talk about the vision of Zartico, it was a no-brainer. The Operating System was something that I had wished for throughout my previous role at an ad agency and it was apparent that this is something that the tourism industry as a whole desperately needed. Now, instead of only seeing insight into the placement and reporting of media, I see the true impact tourism organizations have on their communities. Working on partner questions spanning economic impact, community development, stakeholder engagement, and dispersion, I can see the future of a more equitable future in the tourism industry that elevates DMOs to own the visitor economy. 

The decision to join Zartico was easily the best career decision I have ever made. The last year was also very different than I imagined when I took the rolein the best ways possible. As we continue to expand our team, I have the opportunity to reflect on the career and life lessons I have learned this past year and relish the unique and amazing time it has been.

  1. Speak Up, Your Voice Matters. Our superpower is in the diversity of backgrounds throughout the teameach person brings a different perspective and thought process to tackling a challenge. We are all encouraged to bring our ideas to the tableworking at Zartico you get a say in the path the product and company move toward.

  2. Always Ask Questions. Dedicating time to learning can be a challenge. But how can you create something new if you aren’t taking every advantage to learn? And with teammates who range from PHds in Electrical Engineering to biostatisticians who worked in public health, why wouldn’t you want to learn more and ask questions? I can confidently say that I have become less ashamed of not knowing answers to questions and proud to highlight my amazing team members who do know answers. 

  3. Challenge the Status Quo. “Taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, isn’t it? If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong.” It's no secret that our team loves Ted Lasso and this quote sums up start-up life. We are trying something newpushing the boundaries of what has been done before. Processes have to be developed. Roles evolve. Products change. While this is happening, we have the unique opportunity to make things better than they were before. This mentality is core to Zartico, whether it is evolving how to talk about key performance indicators in the tourism industry or how we approach our internal people policies. 

  4. Having the Right Team is Essential. Ironically, I took my first vacation in my career that wasn’t interrupted by work…working at Zartico. It is because of the amazing, supportive, kind team alongside me. Everyone steps up for one another, because we are smarter, stronger and more successful if we all work together. Our team may include rock stars in the industry, but ego is checked at the door because our people are what drives our success.

  5. Learn From the Best. According to a recent survey from World Tourism Forum Lucerne, only 5% of CEOs of top public companies in the tourism industry are women. With an overall workforce that is 50% female, this number is depressingly low. Our CEO, Sarah is brilliant and everything a CEO should strive to be…and frankly, she is a badass. She leads by example, and in this last year has challenged meand everyone we work withto be better employees and people.  She, and the entire senior leadership team, have created a company that listens to, elevates and promotes women. And for me this has been life changing. 

This past year has been full of learning, growth, challenges and excitement. Watching the team expand, the product evolve, and my own personal growth exceeded my wildest dreams has made time fly. Every morning new challenges are presented, and instead of only seeing part of the question or solution, I get to see the full picture. And in the end, watching communities benefit from intelligence , it makes the day an amazing one.

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