Mary Calderon: Kuoda Travel Founder & President

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Read The Native Influence Full Q&A

How did you get into the Industry? When I was eight years old, I used to accompany my mom to her souvenir shop in the main plaza. It was fun for me: I could meet people, learn about different cultures, make new friends. When time came to choose a career to study, I naturally looked to tourism at the national university in Cusco. One of my first jobs after university was as a trainee at what´s now Belmond Hotels. I learned a lot about customer service, and I was lucky enough that my bosses were from hotels around the world. They were direct, with high expectations. Working for them, I rediscovered how much I liked daily interaction with clients, like in the souvenir shop. After five years, I joined a luxury travel company, where we specialized in luxury travel experiences around the world. In 2003, I decided I wanted to do something smaller and more specialized on my own, and I started Kuoda. Since then, we have developed a passion for providing the ultimate travel experience for each and every guest we have the opportunity to serve.

Career Advice? Love what you do! Otherwise, learn how to love what you do. I feel so blessed that, from the very beginning, working in this industry was a pleasure for me. There is so much to learn every day! Also, build a strong network of highly qualified individuals, and try to be surrounded by the best in your industry—you will always learn something, and you will always teach something.