Jessica Ourisman has grabbed the travel industry by the horns and not let go. As an Africa, South and Central America, and Caribbean specialist, Jessica works closely with each client to create a custom itinerary. Her wealth of knowledge and drive for excellence keep clients coming back again and again. But many don’t realize that Jessica wasn’t always a Travel Advisor. Keep reading for Jessica’s story + learn a few of her travel tips!
What was your job before joining the Brownell Mentoring Program?
Marketing and Public Relations in the entertainment industry
What made you realize you wanted to start a career in the travel industry?
I wanted career independence and an opportunity to try out my interest in entrepreneurship. I put in my two weeks notice, and I never looked back!
Why did you choose Brownell instead of another host agency?
Given David’s [Jessica’s father-in-law] incredible experience with Brownell, I never even considered looking at another agency.
When did you realize your travel career was taking off?
I was shocked that selling safaris came to me so naturally. I sold my first safari while I was in Birmingham for the first week of the Mentoring Program. Then, I sold a fabulous Micato safari a few months later and things really took off after that.
What aspect of the Brownell program is most important to helping your business succeed?
Infrastructure! All of the necessary technology, accounting, etc. is already figured out for me.
What advice do you have for someone entering the industry?
Jump in feet first and don’t be afraid to try new ideas – see what sticks and then run with it.
Jessica’s Travel Tips
What are the best books to read before you travel to certain destinations? (example: Out of Africa)
I read City of Falling Angels by John Berendt before traveling to Venice this spring – It really changed the way I saw the city.
What are your packing secrets?
I’m a roller – everything gets rolled up in my suitcase! I also LOVE my Briggs and Riley carry-on with the built in garment bag – that is a huge space saver!
What are the best souvenirs?
Before every trip, I google “top 10 souvenirs in X” so I know what to keep an eye out for when I’m traveling…soapstone carvings in Kenya, Ostrich leather in South Africa, rare tequilas in Mexico, ceramics and lemons on the Amalfi Coast, etc.