C4W Member Profile: Patricia J. Bean

What is your profession? Travel Agency Owner, Bean Cruises and Travel

What do you enjoy doing outside of your career? Visiting/assisting with care for my new grandchild due in January 2012; gardening; beach combing; casual biking; and since my career IS traveling – travel!!

How long have you been a member of the Center for Women? Just joined after the “Speed Networking” event in November and signed up that evening.  I particpate in many networking groups back home in Rochester, NY so wanted to try it when I was living in Charleston which is half the year (November thru April).

What inspired you to become a member? Had such a positive impact with “Speed Networking” that I thought “this is a group for me”!

What kind of impact has the Center for Women had on you? The day after the event, not only did I go to my nearest Regions Bank and open a business account (they were the sponsor for the event), that I also happened to run into Patty Austin, Sr. VP who spoke that night for Regions Bank at that branch!  What luck!!  I love to give business to those who support me.

How has living day-to-day as a woman affected you? It’s definitely made me stronger as an individual.  I received alot of criticism from not only other people, but my own family for starting a career in the travel business right after 9/11 and the up and coming online travel booking business.  But 10 years later, I am still going strong letting people know there is still value in a travel agent beyond measure!

What kind of message would you like to send out to women who are trying to succeed in today’s economy?   I started my business at the worst possible time – post 9/11 when other travel agencies were closing their doors not only due to the fear people had of traveling, but due to the fact that the airlines cut all domestic travel agent commissions since they thought they could get along without us by selling online – and look what’s happened to the airlines these days!  The way I figured it, business could only get better since we were at our lowest point.  And it has, but did slow down at the end of 2008, along with everyone else’s business due to the economic downturn.  Best piece of advice:  Hang in there!

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