Mourn the past and start reinventing THE FUTURE
It has been more than eight months since our world was introduced to Covid-19 and our lives began to change in ways we never could have imagined. For many of us in the beginning, we chose peace over panic, faith over fear, and always believed that when travel comes back, it will be with a vengeance. But at some point, we must deal with the brutal facts, that what travel was yesterday, is not what it will be tomorrow, and the sooner we accept this, the sooner we will begin to understand how to plan and build for the future.
Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny, especially when there is motivation to reinvent and thrive, not just survive. The hardships that have been forced on the world, and the impact the pandemic has taken on people outside and in our industry globally, require us to let go of yesterday so we can focus on the possibilities of tomorrow. “It’s how we have always done things” has never had less meaning than now.
When I took over the company, you may recall my mentioning that one of the first things I did was take time to learn more about the industry and the company history—both our challenges and successes—before I felt it was reasonable to start looking ahead. What I found was that my father had worked through many events that impacted the industry and our company. And while many of the decisions he made to navigate us through were situational, the insights behind each decision were smart, thoughtful, forward thinking, and timeless. I remember joking around with our team that I am going to make bracelets that say WWAD, (What Would Ady Do).
Sadly, I only really began to appreciate my father’s business wisdom when looking back on his life, and while I have some regrets about that, I don’t beat myself up over it, because I realize now that I could never have appreciated its value until I was required or able to do something with it. In taking over the company that my father ran for 4 decades, one of the unexpected gifts was a history lesson about my father’s professional journey. His thinking and insights not only grew my love and appreciation for his business acumen, but also had an impact on our company and the travel industry as a whole. The biggest turning point for our company after his passing was moving on from what the company was to what it could be. It required me to let go and finish mourning his loss so that I could lift the burden of trying to repeat the past and look instead at what the future could hold. I believe today we all need to accept and mourn what the travel industry was yesterday and be open to its rebirth tomorrow.
Anyone who knew my father would tell you that he was a visionary and that he had the ability to look 2-3 steps ahead and not just react to the moment. I feel that the last 3 years of running this company and absorbing this wealth of knowledge and history has put me in the position to continue his legacy. While I miss his voice, his words live on within me and I am recognizing that his value was not just looking ahead but having the knack to combine our past with our future. I recommend that you too start defining what you want this forced pivot to be for you, and not get stuck trying to go back to what it was yesterday.
We hope in our hearts to become someone who would make our parents and children proud, and with that, I want to share that we have made some changes in the spirit of WWAD. One, we have provided each team member shares of stock in our company, and Advisory Board roles, thus you will see in each of their signature lines a reference to each of those. We, like many other companies have had to make some adjustments to align ourselves with what is taking place today with sales and revenue, but in honoring my father’s legacy, we also honor the idea that he would never request any team member take a step back without offering the potential for two steps forward. We also have recognized the enormous mental and emotional impact this pandemic has had on millions around the globe, but especially our team who have been working tirelessly to update, create and educate so that we may be ready for The Day After. But as we have been witnessing, just when we think things are getting better, you hear of more spikes and closures with borders. Thus, effective October 30, we will be closing our offices on Friday’s until things begin to turn around, and have instructed our team to shut off their computers so they can catch their breath and focus on their family and loved ones and not continue to be bombarded with negativity.
My father was loved by so many because he was consistent in always treating each team member as family, and that is a part of the Gelber legacy from which we will never stray. But while we may be reducing our open hours to Monday-Thursday, please know that all of us at IWorld of Travel are committed to working hard to ensure that our programs, partner relationships and marketing efforts for our company and your needs are available with the best that can be offered, 24/7.
We often judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by behavior…but there are times where behavior defines your intentions. In closing, let me just suggest that in order to get through this—what Covid-19 has done to our lives—we have to deal with the hand we were dealt, as if it was the hand we wanted, thus putting us in control of our own destiny, whatever we choose it to be.
God Bless, stay safe, and start reinventing yourself!
CEO – World of Travel
An Ady Gelber Legacy Company.
P: 212.507.9204 M:916.835.6499