Meet Our People: Stephen Ekstrom

At Tourism Academy |, our team comprises individuals driven by their passion for learning and desire to impact the world positively. Today, we are pleased to introduce Stephen, Co-Founder, CEO, and resident nerd whisperer. Let's delve into Stephen's thoughts and experiences in this "Meet Our People" interview series.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in your field?

Stephen: I am a nerd. I love to learn. It's a trait that all growth-minded individuals share with those who love to travel. Understanding what visitors want, exploring the world to share new experiences with others, and teaching communities how to create more vibrant, welcoming experiences brings me joy.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working with our organization?

Stephen: The people. My colleagues, sponsors, and collaborators all share a passion for learning. We are eager to know better to do better and quickly remove obstacles that stand between knowledge and the people who need it most.

Q: Could you share a memorable project or accomplishment you've achieved recently?

Stephen: Being able to share what we do and how we've helped others at the 2023 Destinations International Annual Conference was a highlight. To see faces light up when they realize that there's a solution to their problem that's easy to implement, delivers excellent results, and makes them look good in the process is heartwarming.

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Q: How do you stay motivated and productive in your role?

Stephen: I think about our mission. We're not in this for the quick fix, the instant payout, or the acclaim. We're here to improve the world by empowering people to share their communities with those who appreciate culture, nature, personal growth, and sustainability.

Q: What is one valuable lesson you've learned with our team?

Stephen: Collaboration is essential. There's room for us all to grow together. Healthy competition involves learning from each other and finding ways to work together to benefit the entire industry and its stakeholders.

Q: Can you describe how you faced a significant challenge at work and how you overcame it?

Stephen: Empathy is a learned trait for me, one that I work to strengthen every day. Stepping back from my perspective and understanding why others behave as they are takes patience and a willingness to set ego aside. I've learned that the only way to create consensus is to see things from others' points of view and work from there to find solutions.

Q: What are your favorite tools or resources that help you excel in your job?

Stephen: Mentors are everything. Our Advisory Panel is packed with brilliant people eager to share their experiences, advice, insight, and guidance. They challenge me to be a better CEO, changemaker, and professional. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Q: How do you collaborate effectively with other team members?

Stephen: My first question is, "What can I do to help you succeed more?" I let others tell me what tools, support, guidance, and assistance they need. It's both empowering and trust-building.

Q: What advice would you give someone starting their career in your field?

Stephen: Be patient. Work hard. Learn from everyone and everything around you. Be flexible and open to change while focusing on the end goal.

Q: What are your professional goals for the future, and how do you plan to achieve them?

Stephen: My professional goal is to grow personally and professionally while guiding the organization toward a position of global prominence, powerful impact, and meaningful results.

As we conclude our interview with Stephen, we are reminded of our team members' incredible dedication and enthusiasm for Tourism Academy. Their continuous pursuit of knowledge and commitment to making a difference drives our success. Stay tuned for more interviews with our exceptional team members as we showcase the outstanding individuals behind our achievements.



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